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September,  1899 












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To  Col.  Charles  Yancey,  January  6th          ...  i 

Internal  improvements — Bank  mania — Bank  paper — Schools 
in  Virginia. 

To  Charles  Thomson,  January  Qth      ....  5 

Translation  of  Bible — Jefferson's  religion — Health. 

To  Benjamin  Austin,'  January  Qth       ....  7 

Lawyers — Monarchists — Fate  of  Europe — Dependence  on 
England  for  manufactures — Change  from  views  in  Notes  on 

To  Horatio  Gates  Spafford,  January  loth  .         .         .         12 

Occupations — Not  afraid  of  priests — New  England  clergy. 

To  Dabney  Carr,  January  iQth  .         .         .         .         .         15 

Peter  Carr — Origin  of  Committees  of  Correspondence. 

To  James  Monroe,  February  4th         .         .         .         .         18 

Spanish  America — Boundaries  of  Louisiana — La  Harpe's 

To  LeRoy  and  Bayard,  April  /th        .         .         .         .         21 

Debt  to  Van  Staphorst — Jefferson's  financial  position. 

To  P.  S.  Dupont  de  Nemours,  April  24th  ...         22 

Constitution  for  South  America — Principles  of  U.  S.  govern 
ment — Moral  principles  in  governments. 

To  Dr.  George  Logan,  May  iQth         ....         26 
Publication  of  private  letters. 

To  John  Taylor,  May  28th 27 

Taylor's  Rnquity  into  the  principles  of  our  government — 
Adams'  book — Definition  of  Republic — U.  S.  government. 

To  Francis  W.  Gilmer,  June  7th          .         .         .         .         31 

Natural  rights — Tracy's  book — Indian  governments — Corea. 


To  William  H.  Crawford,  June  2oth  .         .         .         .         34 

Drawbacks — Shall  U.  S.  be  commercial  ? — Metal  vs.  paper 

To  Samuel  Kercheval,  July  I2th        .        .  ,         37 

Virginia  Constitution — General  principles  of  government. 

To  Thomas  Appleton,  July  i8th       .  .        .        ,        .        46 

Death  of  Mazzei — Jefferson's  debt  to  Mazzei. 
To  John  Taylor,  July  2ist  .         .         .         .         .         .         50 

Schools  in  Virginia — County  Courts. 

To  Joseph  Delaplaine,  July  26th         .         .         .         .         55 

Peyton  Randolph — Invasion  of  Virginia. 

To  James  Madison,  August  2d    .        .        .         .        .         57 

Visits — Mrs.  Randolph's  illness. 

To  William  Wirt,  September  4th         ....         58 
Life  of  Patrick  Henry. 

To  Albert  Gallatin,  September  8th     .  ,        .         62 

Congressional  salary  and  changes — Drought  and  crops — Dis 
appearance  of  Federalists — Virginia  Constitution. 

To  James  Monroe,  October  i6th       '.         .         .         <•        65 
Inscription  for  capitol. 

To  Mathew  Carey,  November  nth     .         .         »         .         67 

Olive  Branch — Religion. 

To  Dr.  George  Logan,  November  I2th       .         .         .         68 

Religion — Conduct  of  U.  S.  compared  with  England. 

To  Mrs.  John  Adams,  January  nth    .         .         .  69 

Events  in  France — Personal  relations. 
To  John  Adams,  January  nth    .         ...         .         71 

Reading — Correspondence — Tracy's  writings — Religion. 

To  William  Sampson,  January  26th    .         .         .         ,         73 

Farming  vs.  manufacturing — Situation  in  Great  Britain. 

To  Charles  Thomson,  January  2Qth    ....         75 
Health — Religion. 

To  Dr.  Thomas  Humphreys,  February  8th         ,         .         76 
Emancipation  and  colonization. 



To  Francis  A.  Van  der  Kemp,  March  i6th         .         ;         77 

Threatened  publication  of  Syllabus  of  Christ's  doctrines — 

To  Tristam  Dalton,  May  2d  .         .         .         79 


To  George  Ticknor  [May  ?].....         80 

Internal  improvements — Rumored  law  of  New  York  against 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  May  I7th  ....         82 

France — United  States — Quakers — South  America. 

To  Wilson  Gary  Nicholas,  June  loth  ...         86 

Byrd's  journal — Loan  from  bank. 

To  Dr.  John  Manners,  June  I2th         ....         86 

Right  of  expatriation — Common  law  in  U.  S. 

To  F.  H.  A.  Von  Humboldt,  June  I3th     .         .         .         88 

Writings — Public  improvements. 

To  Albert  Gallatin,  June  i6th 90 

Congressional  salaries  and   changes — Recent  acts — Internal 
improvements — New  York  act  against  Shakers. 

To  Charles  Clay,  July  I2th          .....         92 

Maxims  of  conduct. 

To  Goodman,  Reed,  Boyer,  and  Duane,  August  2ist         93 

Pretended  political  opinion. 

To  George  Ticknor,  November  25th  ...         94 

Books — French   military   schools — Education   in   Virginia — 
University  of  Virginia. 

To  William  Wirt,  January  5th 96 

Life  of  Patrick  Henry — Kosciusko's  death  and  will. 

To  Joseph  C.  Cabell,  January  I4th     .         .         .         .         98 

Cost  of  Virginia  schools. 

To  Dr.  Benjamin  Waterhouse,  March  3d    .        >.         .       102 

Statement  as  to  Patrick  Henry — John  Adams. 

To  Nathaniel  Burwell,  March  I4th     »,        .;        .         .       104 

French  education — Fiction. 



To  Albert  Gallatin,  April  9th  ..         .       v     •   .        .106 

Ascendency  of  Republican  party. 

To  John  Adams,  May  i/th          .....       107 

Holly  —  Origin  of  Revolution  —  South  America. 

To  Archibald  Stuart,  May  28th  .  .         *       109 

Merino  sheep. 

To  James  Wilkinson,  June  25th          .         .         .         .       no 

Falsehood  in  reference  to  Pike's  expedition  —  Wilson's  Orni 

To  William  H.  Crawford,  November  loth  .         .        in 

Tariff  on  Wines  —  Evil  of  whiskey. 

To  John  Adams,  November  I3th         .         .         .         .       113 

Death  of  Mrs.  Adams. 

To  Albert  Gallatin,  November  24th    .         .         .         .114 

France  —  Capture  of  Pensacola  —  Western  and  Southern  emi 
gration  —  Public  Lands  —  Health  —  Cathalan  —  Tracy. 

To  Robert  Walsh,  December  4th        .         .         .         .116 

Franklin's   enemies  —  Franklin    and    France  —  Anecdotes    of 

To  Nathaniel  Macon,  January  1  2th     .         .         .         .119 

Reading  —  Paper  money. 

To  James  Monroe,  January  i8th         ....       122 

Louisiana  boundaries. 

To  Dr.  Benjamin  Waterhouse,  January  3ist       .         .       123 

Samuel  Adams. 

To  James  Madison,  March  3d     .....       124 

"  Sour  grapes  "  of  William  and  Mary  College  —  Florida  —  Ar- 
buthnot  and  Ambrister. 

To  Dr.  Vine  Utley,  March  2ist  .         .         .         .       125 

Physical  habits. 

To  Samuel  Adams  Wells,  May  1  2th    .  .         .       127 

Origin  of  Committees  of  Correspondence  —  Galloway's  history 
of  Declaration  of  Independence  —  McKean's  recollections  — 
Signing  of  Declaration  —  Samuel  Adams  —  Secret  Journals. 



To  Richard  Rush,  June  22d 133 

Books — Banking  system. 

To  William  Wirt,  June  2;th 135 

Kosciusko's  property  and  will. 

To  John  Adams,  July  9th "-136 

Mecklenburg  declaration — Professors  for  University  of  Vir 

To  Joseph  Marx,  August  24th     .         .         .         .         .139 
Renewal  of  Notes — Endorser. 

To  Spencer  Roane,  September  6th      .         .         .         .140 

Letters  of  Hampden — Encroachments  of  National  govern 
ment — Right  of  decision  as  to  constitutionality. 

To  William  Short,  October  3ist  .         .         .         .       143 

Jefferson  an  Epicurean — Classic  writers — Doctrines  of  Christ. 

To  John  Adams,  November  7th          ....       146 

Illnesses — Bank-note  bubble  burst. 

To  John  Nicholas,  November  loth     ....       148 

Personal  relations — Nicholas  corps — Invasion  of  Virginia. 

To  William  C.  Rives,  November  28th         .         .         .150 


To  John  Adams,  December  loth         .         .         .         .151 

Missouri  question — Cicero — Caesar. 

To  Joseph  C.  Cabell,  January  22d      .         .         .         .154 

University  in  Kentucky — Missouri  question. 

To  Robert  Walsh,  February  6th         .         .         .         .       155 
British  criticisms  of  the  United  States. 

To  Hugh  Nelson,  February  /th  .         .         .         .         .156 

Missouri  question — Petitions  of  manufacturers. 

To  John  Holmes,  April  22d      ...         .         .         .       157 

Missouri  question — Emancipation — Colonization. 

:  To  James  Monroe,  May  I4th      • .-       .         .         .         .       158 

Spanish  Treaty — Texas — Florida — Cuba. 

To  William  C.  Jarvis,  September  28th         .         .         .       160 

Right  of  decision  on  constitutionality. 


To  Charles  Pinckney,  September  3oth        .        ,        ,       161 

Age — Paper  vs.  metallic  money — Missouri  question. 

To  J.  Correa  de  Serra,  October  24th   .         .         »        -,       163 
University  of  Virginia — Portugal — Piracy. 

To  Joseph  C.  Cabell,  November  28th          .         .  "     .       165 

University  of  Virginia — Virginia  threatened  with  being  the 
Barbary  of  United  States — Elementary  schools. 

To  James  Madison,  November  2pth  ....       168 
Tenche  Coxe — Removals  from  office — Correa. 

To  Thomas  Ritchie,  December  25th  .        ,.  .       169 

Taylor's  Construction  Construed — Judiciary  the  dangerous 
branch  of  the  United  States  government. 

To  David  B.  Warden,  December  26th        .         .         .171 

European  revolutions — Banks — Missouri  question — Botta's 

To  A.  C.  V.  C.  Destutt  de  Tracy,  December  26th      .       173 

Writings — South  America. 

To  Albert  Gallatin,  December  26th     .        »        .         .175 

European  revolutions — Paper  money — Governmental  revenues 
and  expenditures — Missouri  question — Pennsylvania  and  Vir 
ginia — Emancipation  and  colonization. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  December  26th  .         .       179 

Health — Republicanization  of  Europe — Relations  with  Spain 
— Missouri  question. 


To  James  Madison,  January  1 3th       .':•'•«        .        .       181 

Treatment  of  typhus  fever — Missouri  question. 

To  Francis  Eppes,  January  igth         .         .       '  .         «       182 
Opinion  of  writings  of  Bolingbroke  and  Thomas  Paine. 

To  Archibald  Thweat,  January  igih  ...         .         .184 
Inroads  of  Federal  judiciary. 

To  John  Adams,  January  22d     .         .         ..        *         .185 

Convention  of  Massachusetts — Missouri  question. 

To  George  A.  Otis,  February  I5th      .         .         .         .       187 

Feeling  concerning  Independence  in  Colonies. 



To  Spencer  Roane,  March  Qth 188 

Corruption    of    government — Federal    judiciary  —  Missouri 

To  Samuel  H.  Smith,  April  i2th         .  .         .       190 

Debt  a  cause  for  revolution — Danger  of  geographical  lines  in 

To  Henry  Dearborn,  August  i/th       ....        191 

Living  signers  of  Declaration — Missouri  question — Western 

To  Nathaniel  Macon,  August  igth      .         .         .         .192 

Jefferson's    recommendation    of     Taylor's    book  —  Political 

To  James  Madison,  September  i6th  .         .         .         .194 

Duties  on  books. 

To  Mrs.  Elizabeth  Page,  December  8th      .         .         .195 

Revolutionary  services  of  Thomas  Nelson. 

To  Rev.  Mr.  Hatch,  December  8th     .         .         .         .       197 


To  James  Pleasants,  December  26th  .         .         .         .197 

University  of  Virginia — Bankrupt  law — Curbing  of  Federal 
judiciary — Cooked-up  decisions. 

To  Thomas  Mann  Randolph,  December  3ist     .         .       200 

Hackley's  claim — Spanish  grants. 

To  Thomas  Ritchie,  January  7th         ....       205 

Endeavor  to  drag  Jefferson  into  Presidential  election. 

To  Jedediah  Morse,  March  6th  .....       203 

Association   for   civilizing    Indians — Dangers    from    private 
societies  interfering  in  governmental  functions. 

To  Ritchie  and  Gooch,  May  I3th         ....       208 

Letter  of  a  native  Virginian — Charge  of  peculation  against 

To  John  Adams,  June  1st  ...         .         .       213 

Charles  Thomson — Life — Health — European  news. 

To  Dr.  Benjamin  Waterhouse,  June  26th    .         .         .       219 

Doctrines  of  Jesus — Corrupted  by  Platonism. 


To  LeRoy  and  Bayard,  July  5th         .         .        ;.         .       221 
Jefferson's  income — Debt  to  Van  Staphorst. 

To  William  Johnson,  October  2/th      .         .         .  222 

Life  of  General  Nathaniel  Greene — Cooked-up  decisions  of 
Supreme  Court — Political  parties. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  October  28th     .         .         .       227 

Friendship — European  affairs — Presidential  election — Politi 
cal  parties. 

To  Albert  Gallatin,  October  2gth        .         .         .         .235 

Presidential  election — University  of  Virginia. 

To  Henry  Dearborn,  October  3ist  .         .         .       236 

Voyage  to  Lisbon — Presidential  election — Political  parties — 
University  of  Virginia — Correa. 

To  John  Adams,  November  ist  ....       238 

Origin  of  American  navy — Proposals  concerning  Barbary 
States — Expense  of  navy. 

To  Dr.  Thomas  Cooper,  November  2d  242 

Outbreak  of  fanaticism  in  U.  S. — No  professor  of  divinity  in 
University  of  Virginia — Opening  of  university. 

To  James  Monroe,  December  ist         .         .         .         .       244 

Mexican  news. 

To  James  Madison,  January  26th        ....       244 

University  of  Virginia — Life  of  Gerry — Letter  to  Judge 

To  James  Madison,  February  2 1st  .         .         .       246 

President's  hospitality — Financial  difficulties. 

To  William  Johnson,  March  4th          .  .         .       246 

North  American  Re-view's  notice  of  Life  of  Greene — History 
of  parties — Federalist  chronicles — Jefferson's  papers — Judiciary 

To  William  Short,  March  28th    .  t        .         .       249 

Predictions  as  to  Europe — Great  Britain  and  United  States. 

To  Samuel  Smith,  May  3d  .         .         .         .         .251 

Whiskey  tax — Excise — Drunkenness  in  U.  S. — Presidential 


To  Thomas  Leiper,  May  3ist 253 

Grasses — Politics — Banks — Prints  of  Bonaparte. 

To  William  B.  Giles,  June  Qth 255 

To  James  Monroe,  June  nth      .         .         .         .         .       256 

U.   S.  should  avoid  European  affairs — Cuba — England  and 

To  James  Madison,  June  I3th     .....       259 

Washington's  farewell  address. 

To  James  Madison,  June  23d      .....       260 

Cuba  and  Mexico. 

To  Albert  Gallatin,  August  2d    .         .         .         .         .       261 

Spain — Political  parties. 

To  Samuel  H.  Smith,  August  2d  263 

Qualifications  of  President — Party  of  consolidation. 

To  George  Hay,  August  7th        .....       264 
Letters  of  "  Phocion" — Method  of  electing  President. 

To  William  B.  Giles,  August  2pth       ....       265 

W.  C.  Nicholas. 
To  James  Madison,  August  3Oth         ....       266 

Pickering's  Fourth  of  July  oration — Drafting  of  Declaration 
of  Independence — Origin  of  ideas. 

To  John  Adams,  September  4th          ....       269 

Slow  progress  of  free  ideas — Europe — John  Jay. 

To  John  Adams,  October  I2th 272 

Old   age — University  of   Virginia — Cunningham  correspon 

To  James  Madison,  October  i8th        ....       275 

Letter  of   Tenche   Coxe — Controversy  between  partizans  of 
Hamilton  and  Pickering. 

To  James  Monroe,  October  I9th         ....       275 

To  James  Monroe,  October  24th         ....       277 
Monroe  doctrine — Great  Britain. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  November  4th  .         .       279 

European  affairs — Presidential   election — Political  parties — 
Miss  Wright's  books — Old  age. 



To  James  Madison,  November  I5th    ....       283 
Questions  with  Great  Britain. 

To  John  Fry,  December  2d         .         .         ;         .         .       284 
Gift  of  venison. 

To  William  Carver,  December  4th       .         .         .         .       284 
Letters  of  Thomas  Paine — Magazine — Toleration. 

To  Thomas  Cooper,  December  nth    .         .         .         .       285 
Class  taxation — Fanaticism — University  of  Virginia. 

To  Andrew  Jackson,  December  i8th  .         .         .       286 



To  Thomas  J.  Grotjan,  January  roth  .         .         .       287 

Maxims  of  conduct. 

To  John  Davis,  January  i8th 287 

Bancroft's  sermons — Doctrines  of  Jesus. 

To  George  Thacher,  January  26th       ....       288 

To  Jared  Sparks,  February  4th 289 

Colonization — Problem  as  to  negro. 

To  James  Monroe,  February  5th 293 

Publication  of  papers  on  Continental  Congress — Coming  of 

To  Robert  J.  Garnett,  February  I4th          .         .         .       294 

Taylor's  New   Views  of  the  Constitution — True  relation  of 
national  and  state  governments. 

To  James  Monroe,  February  24th       ....       296 
Applicants  for  office — B.  Peyton. 

To  James  Monroe,  March  27th   .         .      .....         .         .       298 

Relations  with  Edward  Livingston. 

To  Thomas  Leiper,  April  3d  .         .         .         .       298 

Presidential  election — Relations  between  Pennsylvania  and 

To  Edward  Livingston,  April  4th        .  .         .       299 

Political  parties — Federal  and  state  relations — Internal  im 



To  John  H.  Pleasants,  April  4th          ....       302 

Virginia  constitution. 

To  Richard  Rush,  June  5th         .....       304 

Tariff  of  1824 — Andrew  Jackson's  prospects — Crawford  and 

To  Martin  Van  Buren,  June  2gth       ....       305 

Pickering's  orations — Philippics  against  Adams  and  Jefferson 
— Relations  with  Washington — Mazzei  letter — Society  of  the 
Cincinnati — Washington's  politics. 

To  James  Monroe,  July  i8th      .....       316 

Applications  for  appointments — Conduct  of  England. 

To  Henry  Lee,  Jr.,  August  roth          .         .         .  317 

Newspapers — Political  parties. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  September  3d    .         .         .318 

Arrival  in  America — Yorktown — Visit  to  Monticello. 

To  Samuel  Kerchival,  September  5th          .         .         .319 

Virginia  constitution. 

To  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  October  9th        .         .         .       320 
Tender  of  dinner — Recollections. 

To  Richard  Rush,  October  I3th          ....       322 

Delirium  of  Lafayette's  visit — Presidential  election — Danger 
of  consolidation. 

To  Joseph  Coolidge,  October  24th       ....       323 

Courtship  of  Ellen  Jefferson — Gift — Visit  of  Lafayette. 

To  Charles  J.  Ingersoll,  October  2/th          .         .         .       324 
Walsh's  book — Conduct  of  Great  Britain. 

To  Thomas  Leiper,  December  6th      ....       325 

Application  for  office — Invitation. 

To  James  Monroe,  December  I5th      ....       326 

Publication  of  letter. 


To  William  Short,  January  8th  .....       328 

Writings  of  Harper  and  Otis — Hamilton  a  monarchist — The 
two  Adamses — Denny — History  of  American  parties. 

To  Dr.  Benjamin  Waterhouse,  January  8th        .         .       335 

University  of  Virginia — Health  of  Adams. 


To  Francis  A.  Van  der  Kemp,  January  nth       .         .       336 
Adams — Flourens  on  nervous  system. 

To  J.  S.  Johnson,  February  1 3th         ...         .         .       338 

Book  on  Louisiana — La  Harpe's  History — Louisiana  bound 

To  Thomas  J.  Smith,  February  2 1st  .         .         .       340 

Rules  for  conduct. 

To  Augustus  B.  Woodward,  April  3d          ...       341 

Authorship  of  Virginia  constitution—  Mason  —  Jefferson's 
share  in  preamble. 

To  Henry  Lee,  Jr.,  May  8th       .         .  .         .       342 

Mason  the  author  of  the  Virginia  Bill  of  Rights — Virginia's 
instruction  on  Independence — Object  of  Declaration  of  Inde 

To  Fanny  Wright,  August  7th    .         .         .         .         .       343 

To  John  Vaughan,  September  i6th    .         .         .         .       345 
Copies  of  Declaration  of  Independence. 

To  Dr.  James  Mease,  September  26th         .         .         .       346 
House  where  Declaration  was  written. 

To  John  Adams,  December  i8th         ....       346 

Ellen  Jefferson  Coolidge — Jefferson's  wealth — Life  of  R.  H. 

To  James  Madison,  December  24th     ....       348 
Internal  improvements — Draft  of  protest. 

To  William  B.  Giles,  December  2$th  .         .      .  .       350 

J.  Q.  Adams  and  embargo — New  England  negotiations  with 
Great  Britain. 

To  William  B.  Giles,  December  26th  .         .         .       357 

Usurpation  of  national  government — Course  to  be  taken — 
Publication  of  letter — University  of  Virginia. 

To  William  F.  Gordon,  January  1st    .  i '' .         .       358 

111  health — Usurpation  of  national  government — Internal  im 

To  James  Madison,  January  2d  .         .         .         .       359 

Internal  improvements — University  of  Virginia. 


To  Thomas  M.  Randolph,  January  8th       .         .         .       366 

Private  affairs. 

To  William  Short,  January  i8th          .         .         .         .361 


Thoughts  on  Lotteries         ......       362 

Cases  in  Virginia — Jefferson's  services. 

To  Joseph  C.  Cabell,  February  /th     ....       372 

Lottery  for  Jefferson — Charges  of  "An  American  Citizen  " — 
University  of  Virginia. 

To  Thomas  J.  Randolph,  February  8th       .         .         .       374 

Lottery — Despair. 

To  James  Madison,  February  I7th      ....       375 

University  of   Virginia — Books — Legal   training — Lottery — 
Debts — Nicholas. 

To  Nathaniel  Macon,  February  2ist  .         .         .       378 

History  of  North  Carolina. 

To  James  Monroe,  February  22d         ....       379 

Debts — Lottery — Virginian  estate. 

To  George  Loyall,  February  22d         ....       379 

Lottery — University  of  Virginia. 

To  Thomas  Ritchie,  February  28th    .         .         .         .381 

Lottery — Property. 

To  James  Monroe,  March  8th 383 

Lottery — Property . 

To  John  Q.  Adams,  March  3Oth          ....       383 

Commercial  treaties. 

To  Edward  Everett,  April  8th 385 

Lawfulness  of  slavery — U.  S.  constitution. 

To  Henry  Lee,  Jr.,  May  3<Dth 385 

Lee's  Memoirs — Simcoe's  raid. 

To  Mrs.  Joseph  Coolidge,  June  5th    ....       387 

Affection — Incipient  courtships. 

To  Roger  C.  Weightman,  June  24th  .         .         .       390 

Declines  invitation  to  celebrate  fiftieth  anniversary  of  Inde 

Jefferson's  Will 392 

Jefferson's  Epitaph      .......       396 














24-Dec.  5. 

1817.—  Apr. 




n-Setf.  18. 


22-Dec.  20. 

1818.—  Apr. 



17-May  3. 





At  Monticello. 
At  Poplar  Forest. 
At  Monticello. 
At  Poplar  Forest. 
At  Monticello. 

Writes  sketch  of  Peyton  Randolph. 

Proof-reads  Wirt's  Life  of  Patrick  Henry. 
At  Poplar  Forest. 
At  Monticello. 

Writes  inscription  for  National  Capitol. 
At  Poplar  Forest. 
At  Monticello. 
At  Poplar  Forest. 
At  Monticello. 
At  Poplar  Forest. 
At  Monticello. 
At  Poplar  Forest. 
At  Monticello. 
At  Poplar  Forest. 
At  Monticello. 
At  Poplar  Forest. 
At  Monticello. 
At  Poplar  Forest. 
At  Rockfish  Gap. 
At  Warm  Springs. 
At  Monticello. 

Writes  Anecdotes  of  Franklin. 


1819. — Apr.   22.  At  Poplar  Forest. 

May     I.  At  Monticello. 
July    lO-Sept.  10.       At  Poplar  Forest. 

Sept.  14.  At  Monticello. 

Nov.  Draws  Plan  of  circulating  medium. 

1820. — Sept.  13-21.  At  Poplar  Forest. 

Sept.  24.  At  Monticello. 

Nov.  15.  At  Poplar  Forest. 

Dec.   19.  At  Monticello. 

1821. — Oct.    20.  At  Buckspring. 

27.  At  Monticello. 

1822. — May  Writes  answer  to  "  A  Native  of  Virginia." 

21-6.  At  Poplar  Forest. 

30.  At  Monticello. 

1823. — May   21.  At  Poplar  Forest. 

May   27.  At  Monticello. 

June  At  Bedford. 

July  At  Monticello. 

1824. — Dec.  Visited  by  Daniel  Webster. 

1825. — Dec.  Drafts  Protest  for  Virginia. 

1826. — Feb.  Writes  Notes  on  Lotteries. 

Mar.  1 6.  Executes  Will. 

17.  Adds  Codicil  to  Will. 

June  24.  Declines  invitation  to  join  in  celebrating  July 


25.  Writes  last  letter. 

July      4.  Dies. 






MONTICELLO,  January  6,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  am  favored  with  yours  of  December  24th,  and 
perceive  you  have  many  matters  before  you  of  great  moment. 
I  have  no  fear  but  that  the  legislature  will  do  on  all  of  them 
what  is  wise  and  just.  On  the  particular  subject  of  our  river,  in 
the  navigation  of  which  our  county  has  so  great  an  interest,  I 
think  the  power  of  permitting  dams  to  be  erected  across  it,  ought 
to  be  taken  from  the  courts,  so  far  as  the  stream  has  water 
enough  for  navigation.  The  value  of  our  property  is  sensibly 
lessened  by  the  dam  which  the  court  of  Fluvana  authorized  not 
long  since  to  be  erected,  but  a  little  above  its  mouth.  This 
power  over  the  value  and  convenience  of  our  lands  is  of  much 
too  high  a  character  to  be  placed  at  the  will  of  a  county  court, 
and  that  of  a  county,  too,  which  has  not  a  common  interest  in 
the  preservation  of  the  navigation  for  those  above  them.  As  to 
the  existing  dams,  if  any  conditions  are  proposed  more  than 

2  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

those  to  which  they  were  subjected  on  their  original  erection,  I 
think  they  would  be  allowed  the  alternative  of  opening  a  sluice 
for  the  passage  of  navigation,  so  as  to  put  the  river  into  as  good 
a  condition  for  navigation  as  it  was  before  the  erection  of  their 
dam,  or  as  it  would  be  if  their  dam  were  away.  Those  interested 
in  the  navigation  might  then  use  the  sluices  or  make  locks  as 
should  be  thought  best.  Nature  and  reason,  as  well  as  all  our 
constitutions,  condemn  retrospective  conditions  as  mere  acts  of 
power  against  right. 

I  recommend  to  your  patronage  our  Central  College.  I  look 
to  it  as  a  germ  from  which  a  great  tree  may  spread  itself. 

There  is  before  the  assembly  a  petition  of  a  Captain  Miller 
which  I  have  at  heart,  because  I  have  great  esteem  for  the  peti 
tioner  as  an  honest  and  useful  man.  He  is  about  to  settle  in 
our  county,  and  to  establish  a  brewery,  in  which  art  I  think  him 
as  skilful  a  man  as  has  ever  come  to  America.  I  wish  to  see  this 
beverage  become  common  instead  of  the  whiskey  which  kills 
one-third  of  our  citizens  and  ruins  their  families.  He  is  staying 
with  me  until  he  can  fix  himself,  and  I  should  be  thankful  for 
information  from  time  to  time  of  the  progress  of  his  petition. 

Like  a  dropsical  man  calling  out  for  water,  water,  our  deluded 
citizens  are  clamoring  for  more  banks,  more  banks.  The  Ameri 
can  mind  is  now  in  that  state  of  fever  which  the  world  has  so 
often  seen  in  the  history  of  other  nations.  We  are  under  the 
bank  bubble,  as  England  was  under  the  South  Sea  bubble, 
France  under  the  Mississippi  bubble,  and  as  every  nation  is 
liable  to  be,  under  whatever  bubble,  design,  or  delusion  may  puff 
up  in  moments  when  off  their  guard.  We  are  now  taught  to  be- 
believe  that  legerdemain  tricks  upon  paper  can  produce  as  solid 
wealth  as  hard  labor  in  the  earth.  It  is  vain  for  common  sense 
to  urge  that  nothing  can  produce  nothing  ;  that  it  is  an  idle  dream 
to  believe  in  a  philosopher's  stone  which  is  to  turn  everything 
into  gold,  and  to  redeem  man  from  the  original  sentence  of  his 
Maker,  "  in  the  sweat  of  his  brow  shall  he  eat  his  bread."  Not 
Quixot  enough,  however,  to  attempt  to  reason  Bedlam  to  rights, 
my  anxieties  are  turned  to  the  most  practicable  means  of  with 
drawing  us  from  the  ruin  into  which  we  have  run.  Two  hundred 
millions  of  paper  in  the  hands  of  the  people,  (and  less  cannot  be 


from  the  employment  of  a  banking  capital  known  to  exceed  one 
hundred  millions,)  is  a  fearful  tax  to  fall  at  haphazard  on  their 
heads.  The  debt  which  purchased  our  independence  was  but  of 
eighty  millions,  of  which  twenty  years  of  taxation  had  in  1809 
paid  but  the  one  half.  And  what  have  we  purchased  with  this 
tax  of  two  hundred  millions  which  we  are  to  pay  by  wholesale  but 
usury,  swindling,  and  new  forms  of  demoralization.  Revolution 
ary  history  has  warned  us  of  the  probable  moment  when  this  base 
less  trash  is  to  receive  its  fiat.  Whenever  so  much  of  the  precious 
metals  shall  have  returned  into  the  circulation  as  that  everyone 
can  get  some  in  exchange  for  his  produce,  paper,  as  in  the  revo 
lutionary  war,  it  will  experience  at  once  an  universal  rejection. 
When  public  opinion  changes,  it  is  with  the  rapidity  of  thought. 
Confidence  is  already  on  the  totter,  and  every  one  now  handles 
this  paper  as  if  playing  at  Robin 's  alive.  That  in  the  present 
state  of  the  circulation  the  bank  should  resume  payments  in 
specie,  would  require  their  vaults  to  be  like  the  widow's  cruse. 
The  thing  to  be  aimed  at  is,  that  the  excesses  of  their  emissions 
should  be  withdrawn  as  gradually,  but  as  speedily,  too,  as  is  prac 
ticable,  without  so  much  alarm  as  to  bring  on  the  crisis  dreaded. 
Some  banks  are  said  to  be  calling  in  their  paper.  But  ought  we 
to  let  this  depend  on  their  discretion  ?  Is  it  not  the  duty  of  the 
legislature  to  avert  from  their  constituents  such  a  catastrophe  as 
the  extinguishment  of  two  hundred  millions  of  paper  in  their 
hands?  The  difficulty  is  indeed  great :  and  the  greater,  because 
the  patient  revolts  against  all  medicine.  I  am  far  from  presuming 
to  say  that  any  plan  can  be  relied  on  with  certainty,  because 
the  bubble  may  burst  from  one  moment  to  another  ;  but  if  it  fails, 
we  shall  be  but  where  we  should  have  been  without  any  effort  to 
save  ourselves.  Different  persons,  doubtless,  will  devise  different 
schemes  of  relief.  One  would  be  to  suppress  instantly  the  cur 
rency  of  all  paper  not  issued  under  the  authority  of  our  State  or  of 
the*Ceneral  Government  ;  to  interdict  after  a  few  months  the  cir 
culation  of  all  bills  of  five  dollars  and  under  :  after  a  few  months 
more,  all  of  ten  dollars  and  under ;  after  other  terms,  those  of 
twenty,  fifty,  and  so  on  to  one  hundred  dollars,  which  last,  if  any 
must  be  left  in  circulation,  should  be  the  lowest  denomination. 
These  might  be  a  convenience  in  mercantile  transactions  and 

4  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

transmissions,  and  would  be  excluded  by  their  size  from  ordinary 
circulation.  But  the  disease  may  be  too  pressing  to  await  such  a 
remedy.  With  the  legislature  I  cheerfully  leave  it  to  apply  this 
medicine,  or  no  medicine  at  all.  I  am  sure  their  intentions  are 
faithful ;  and  embarked  in  the  same  bottom,  I  am  willing  to  swim 
or  sink  with  my  fellow  citizens.  If  the  latter  is  their  choice,  I  will 
go  down  with  them  without  a  murmur.  But  my  exhortation 
would  rather  be  "  not  to  give  up  the  ship." 

I  am  a  great  friend  to  the  improvements  of  roads,  canals,  and 
schools.  But  I  wish  I  could  see  some  provision  for  the  former 
as  solid  as  that  of  the  latter,  — something  better  than  fog.  The 
literary  fund  is  a  solid  provision,  unless  lost  in  the  impending 
bankruptcy.  If  the  legislature  would  add  to  that  a  perpetual  tax 
of  a  cent  a  head  on  the  population  of  the  State,  it  would  set 
agoing  at  once,  and  forever  maintain,  a  system  of  primary  or 
ward  schools,  and  an  university  where  might  be  taught,  in  its 
highest  degree,  every  branch  of  science  useful  in  our  time  and 
country  ;  and  it  would  rescue  us  from  the  tax  of  toryism,  fanati 
cism,  and  indifferentism  to  their  own  State,  which  we  now  send 
our  youth  to  bring  from  those  of  New  England.  If  a  nation 
expects  to  be  ignorant  and  free,  in  a  state  of  civilization,  it  ex 
pects  what  never  was  and  never  will  be.  The  functionaries  of 
every  government  have  propensities  to  command  at  will  the  lib 
erty  and  property  of  their  constituents.  There  is  no  safe  deposit 
for  these  but  with  the  people  themselves  ;  nor  can  they  be  safe 
with  them  without  information.  Where  the  press  is  free,  and 
every  man  able  to  read,  all  is  safe.  The  frankness  of  this  com 
munication  will,  I  am  sure,  suggest  to  you  a  discreet  use  of  it. 
I  wish  to  avoid  all  collisions  of  opinion  with  all  mankind.  Show 
it  to  Mr.  Maury,  with  expressions  of  my  great  esteem.  It  pre 
tends  to  convey  no  more  than  the  opinions  of  one  of  your  thou 
sand  constituents,  and  to  claim  no  more  attention  than  every 
other  of  that  thousand. 

I  will  ask  you  once  more  to  take  care  of  Miller  and  our  Col 
lege,  and  to  accept  assurance  of  my  esteem  and  respect. 



MONTICELLO,  January  g,  1816. 

MY  DEAR  AND  ANCIENT  FRIEND, — An  acquaintance 
of  fifty-two  years,  for  I  think  ours  dates  from  1764, 
calls  for  an  interchange  of  notice  now  and  then,  that 
we  remain  in  existence,  the  monuments  of  another 
age,  and  examples  of  a  friendship  unaffected  by  the 
jarring  elements  by  which  we  have  been  surrounded, 
of  revolutions  of  government,  of  party  and  of  opin 
ion.  I  am  reminded  of  this  duty  by  the  receipt, 
through  our  friend  Dr.  Patterson,  of  your  synopsis  of 
the  four  Evangelists.  I  had  procured  it  as  soon  as  I 
saw  it  advertised,  and  had  become  familiar  with  its 
use  ;  but  this  copy  is  the  more  valued  as  it  comes 
from  your  hand.  This  work  bears  the  stamp  of  that 
accuracy  which  marks  everything  from  you,  and  will 
be  useful  to  those  who,  not  taking  things  on  trust, 
recur  for  themselves  to  the  fountain  of  pure  morals. 
I,  too,  have  made  a  wee-little  book  from  the  same 
materials,  which  I  call  the  Philosophy  of  Jesus  ;  it  is 
a  paradigma  of  his  doctrines,  made  by  cutting  the 
texts  out  of  the  book,  and  arranging  them  on  the 
pages  of  a  blank  book,  in  a  certain  order  of  time  or 
subject.  A  more  beautiful  or  precious  morsel  of 
ethics  I  have  never  seen  ;  it  is  a  document  in  proof 
that  /  am  a  real  Christian,  that  is  to  say,  a  disciple 
of  tha» doctrines  of  Jesus,  very  different  from  the 
Platonists,  who  call  me  infidel  and  themselves  Chris 
tians  and  preachers  of  the  gospel,  while  they  draw  all 
their  characteristic  dogmas  from  what  its  author 
never  said  nor  saw.  They  have  compounded  from 

6  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

the  heathen  mysteries  a  system  beyond  the  compre 
hension  of  man,  of  which  the  great  reformer  of  the 
vicious  ethics  and  deism  of  the  Jews,  were  he  to  return 
on  earth,  would  not  recognize  one  feature.  If  I  had 
time  I  would  add  to  my  little  book  the  Greek,  Latin 
and  French  texts,  in  columns  side  by  side.  And  I 
wish  I  could  subjoin  a  translation  of  Gosindi's  Syn 
tagma  of  the  doctrines  of  Epicurus,  which,  notwith 
standing  the  calumnies  of  the  Stoics  and  caricatures 
of  Cicero,  is  the  most  rational  system  remaining  of 
the  philosophy  of  the  ancients,  as  frugal  of  vicious 
indulgence,  and  fruitful  of  virtue  as  the  hyperbolical 
extravagances  of  his  rival  sects. 

I  retain  good  health,  am  rather  feeble  to  walk 
much,  but  ride  with  ease,  passing  two  or  three  hours 
a  day  on  horseback,  and  every  three  or  four  months 
taking  in  a  carriage  a  journey  of  ninety  miles  to  a 
distant  possession,  where  I  pass  a  good  deal  of  my 
time.  My  eyes  need  the  aid  of  glasses  by  night,  and 
with  small  print  in  the  day  also  ;  my  hearing  is  not 
quite  so  sensible  as  it  used  to  be ;  no  tooth  shaking 
yet,  but  shivering  and  shrinking  in  body  from  the 
cold  we  now  experience,  my  thermometer  having 
been  as  low  as  12°  this  morning.  My  greatest  op 
pression  is  a  correspondence  afflictingly  laborious, 
the  extent  of  which  I  have  been  long  endeavoring  to 
curtail.  This  keeps  me  at  the  drudgery  of  the  writ 
ing-table  all  the  prime  hours  of  the  day,  leaving  for 
the  gratification  of  my  appetite  for  reading,  only 
what  I  can  steal  from  the  hours  of  sleep.  Could  I 
reduce  this  epistolary  corvee  within  the  limits  of  my 


friends  and  affairs,  and  give  the  time  redeemed  from 
it  to  reading  and  reflection,  to  history,  ethics,  mathe 
matics,  my  life  would  be  as  happy  as  the  infirmities 
of  age  would  admit,  and  I  should  look  on  its  consum 
mation  with  the  composure  of  one  "  qui  summum  nee 
me  tuit  diem  nee  op  tat" 

So  much  as  to  myself,  and  I  have  given  you  this 
string  of  egotisms  in  the  hope  of  drawing  a  similar 
one  from  yourself.  I  have  heard  from  others  that 
you  retain  your  health,  a  good  degree  of  activity,  and 
all  the  vivacity  and  cheerfulness  of  your  mind,  but 
I  wish  to  learn  it  more  minutely  from  yourself.  How 
has  time  affected  your  health  and  spirits  ?  What  are 
your  amusements,  literary  and  social  ?  Tell  me  every 
thing  about  yourself,  because  all  will  be  interesting 
to  me  who  retains  for  you  ever  the  same  constant 
and  affectionate  friendship  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  January  9,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  December  2ist  has  been  received, 
and  I  am  first  to  thank  you  for  the  pamphlet  it  covered.  The 
same  description  of  persons  which  is  the  subject  of  that  is  so 
much  multiplied  here  too,  as  to  be  almost  a  grievance,  and  by 
their  numbers  in  the  public  councils,  have  wrested  from  the  pub 
lic  hand^the  direction  of  the  pruning  knife.  But  with  us  as  a 
body,  they  are  republican,  and  mostly  moderate  in  their  views  ; 
so  far,  therefore,  less  objects  of  jealousy  than  with  you.  Your 
opinions  on  the  events  which  have  taken  place  in  France,  are 
entirely  just,  so  far  as  these  events  are  yet  developed.  But  they 
have  not  reached  their  ultimate  termination.  There  is  still  an 
awful  void  between  the  present  and  what  is  to  be  the  last  chap- 

8  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

ter  of  that  history  ;  and  I  fear  it  is  to  be  filled  with  abomina 
tions  as  frightful  as  those  which  have  already  disgraced  it.  That 
nation  is  too  high-minded,  has  too  much  innate  force,  intelligence 
and  elasticity,  to  remain  under  its  present  compression.  Samson 
will  arise  in  his  strength,  as  of  old,  and  as  of  old  will  burst  asunder 
the  withes  and  the  cords,  and  the  webs  of  the  Philistines.  But 
what  are  to  be  the  scenes  of  havoc  and  horror,  and  how  widely 
they  may  spread  between  brethren  of  the  same  house,  our  igno 
rance  of  the  interior  feuds  and  antipathies  of  the  country  places 
beyond  our  ken.  It  will  end,  nevertheless,  in  a  representative 
government,  in  a  government  in  which  the  will  of  the  people 
will  be  an  effective  ingredient.  This  important  element  has 
taken  root  in  the  European  mind,  and  will  have  its  growth  ; 
their  despots,  sensible  of  this,  are  already  offering  this  modifica 
tion  of  their  governments,  as  if  of  their  own  accord.  Instead  of 
the  parricide  treason  of  Bonaparte,  in  perverting  the  means  con 
fided  to  him  as  a  republican  magistrate,  to  the  subversion  of  that 
republic  and  erection  of  a  military  despotism  for  himself  and  his 
family,  had  he  used  it  honestly  for  the  establishment  and  support 
of  a  free  government  in  his  own  country,  France  would  now 
have  been  in  freedom  and  rest  ;  and  her  example  operating  in  a 
contrary  direction,  every  nation  in  Europe  would  have  had  a  gov 
ernment  over  which  the  will  of  the  people  would  have  had  some 
control.  His  atrocious  egotism  has  checked  the  salutary  progress 
of  principle,  and  deluged  it  with  rivers  of  blood  which  are  not 
yet  run  out.  To  the  vast  sum  of  devastation  and  of  human  mis 
ery,  of  which  he  has  been  the  guilty  cause,  much  is  still  to  be 
added.  But  the  object  is  fixed  in  the  eye  of  nations,  and  they 
will  press  on  to  its  accomplishment  and  to  the  general  ameliora 
tion  of  the  condition  of  man.  What  a  germ  have  we  planted, 
and  how  faithfully  should  we  cherish  the  parent  tree  at 
home  ! 

You  tell  me  I  am  quoted  by  those  who  wish  to  continue  our 
dependence  on  England  for  manufactures.  There  was  a  time 
when  I  might  have  been  so  quoted  with  more  candor,  but  within 
the  thirty  years  which  have  since  elapsed,  how  are  circumstances 
changed !  We  were  then  in  peace.  Our  independent  place 
among  nations  was  acknowledged.  A  commerce  which  offered 


the  raw  material  in  exchange  for  the  same  material  after  re 
ceiving  the  last  touch  of  industry,  was  worthy  of  welcome  to  all 
nations.  It  was  expected  that  those  especially  to  whom  manu 
facturing  industry  was  important,  would  cherish  the  friendship 
of  such  customers  by  every  favor,  by  every  inducement,  and  par 
ticularly  cultivate  their  peace  by  every  act  of  justice  and  friend 
ship.  Under  this  prospect  the  question  seemed  legitimate, 
whether,  with  such  an  immensity  of  unimproved  land,  courting 
the  hand  of  husbandry,  the  industry  of  agriculture,  or  that  of 
manufactures,  would  add  most  to  the  national  wealth  ?  And  the 
doubt  was  entertained  on  this  consideration  chiefly,  that  to  the 
labor  of  the  husbandman  a  vast  addition  is  made  by  the  spon 
taneous  energies  of  the  earth  on  which  it  is  employed  :  for  one 
grain  of  wheat  committed  to  the  earth,  she  renders  twenty, 
thirty,  and  even  fifty  fold,  whereas  to  the  labor  of  the  manu 
facturer  nothing  is  added.  Pounds  of  flax,  in  his  hands,  yield,  on 
the  contrary,  but  pennyweights  of  lace.  This  exchange,  too,  la 
borious  as  it  might  seem,  what  a  field  did  it  promise  for  the  occu 
pations  of  the  ocean  ;  what  a  nursery  for  that  class  of  citizens 
who  were  to  exercise  and  maintain  our  equal  rights  on  that  ele 
ment  ?  This  was  the  state  of  things  !in  1785,  when  the  "Notes 
on  Virginia  "  were  first  printed  ;  when,  the  ocean  being  open  to 
all  nations,  and  their  common  right  in  it  acknowledged  and  ex 
ercised  under  regulations  sanctioned  by  the  assent  and  usage  of 
all,  it  was  thought  that  the  doubt  might  claim  some  considera 
tion.  But  who  in  1785  could  foresee  the  rapid  depravity  which 
was  to  render  the  close  of  that  century  the  disgrace  of  the  history 
of  man  ?  Who  could  have  imagined  that  the  two  most  dis 
tinguished  in  the  rank  of  nations,  for  science  and  civilization, 
would  have  suddenly  descended  from  that  honorable  eminence, 
and  setting  at  defiance  all  those  moral  laws  established  by  the 
Author  o£  nature  between  nation  and  nation,  as  between  man 
and  man,  would  cover  earth  and  sea  with  robberies  and  piracies, 
merely  because  strong  enough  to  do  it  with  temporal  impunity  ; 
and  that  under  this  disbandment  of  nations  from  social  order,  we 
should  have  been  despoiled  of  a  thousand  ships,  and  have  thou 
sands  of  our  citizens  reduced  to  Algerine  slavery.  Yet  all  this 
has  taken  place.  One  of  these  nations  interdicted  to  our  vessels 

io  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

all  harbors  of  the  globe  without  having  first  proceeded  to  some 
one  of  hers,  there  paid  a  tribute  proportioned  to  the  cargo,  and 
obtained  her  license  to  proceed  to  the  port  of  destination.  The 
other  declared  them  to  be  lawful  prize  if  they  had  touched  at  the 
port,  or  been  visited  by  a  ship  of  the  enemy  nation.  Thus  were 
we  completely  excluded  from  the  ocean.  Compare  this  state  of 
things  with  that  of  '85,  and  say  whether  an  opinion  founded  in 
the  circumstances  of  that  day  can  be  fairly  applied  to  those  of 
the  present.  We  have  experienced  what  we  did  not  then  be 
lieve,  that  there  exists  both  profligacy  and  power  enough  to  ex 
clude  us  from  the  field  of  interchange  with  other  nations  :  that 
to  be  independent  for  the  comforts  of  life  we  must  fabricate  them 
ourselves.  We  must  now  place  the  manufacturer  by  the  side  of 
the  agriculturist.  The  former  question  is  suppressed,  or  rather 
assumes  a  new  form.  Shall  we  make  our  own  comforts,  or  go 
without  them,  at  the  will  of  a  foreign  nation  ?  He,  therefore,  who 
is  now  against  domestic  manufacture,  must  be  for  reducing  us 
either  to  dependence  on  that  foreign  nation,  or  to  be  clothed  in 
skins,  and  to  live  like  wild  beasts  in  dens  and  caverns.  I  am 
not  one  of  these  ;  experience  has  taught  me  that  manufactures 
are  now  as  necessary  to  our  independence  as  to  our  comfort ; 
and  if  those  who  quote  me  as  of  a  different  opinion,  will  keep 
pace  with  me  in  purchasing  nothing  foreign  where  an  equivalent 
of  domestic  fabric  can  be  obtained,  without  regard  to  difference 
of  price,  it  will  not  be  our  fault  if  we  do  not  soon  have  a  supply 
at  home  equal  to  our  demand,  and  wrest  that  weapon  of  distress 
from  the  hand  which  has  wielded  it.  If  it  shall  be  proposed  to 
go  beyond  our  own  supply,  the  question  of  '85  will  then  recur, 
will  our  surplus  labor  be  then  most  beneficially  employed  in  the 
culture  of  the  earth,  or  in  the  fabrications  of  art  ?  We  have  time 
yet  for  consideration,  before  that  question  will  press  upon  us  ; 
and  the  maxim  to  be  applied  will  depend  on  the  circumstances 
which  shall  then  exist ;  for  in  so  complicated  a  science  as  politi 
cal  economy,  no  one  axiom  can  be  laid  down  as  wise  and  ex 
pedient  for  all  times  and  circumstances,  and  for  their  contraries. 
Inattention  to  this  is  what  has  called  for  this  explanation,  which 
reflection  would  have  rendered  unnecessary  with  the  candid, 
while  nothing  will  do  it  with  those  who  use  the  former  opinion 


only  as  a  stalking  horse,  to  cover  their  disloyal  propensities 
to  keep  us  in  eternal  vassalage  to  a  foreign  and  unfriendly 

I  salute  you  with  assurances  of  great  respect  and  esteem.1 

1  Jefferson  further  wrote  to  Austin  : 

MONTICELLO,  February  9,  1816. 

SIR, — Your  favor  of  January  25th  is  just  now  received.  I  am  in  general  ex 
tremely  unwilling  to  be  carried  into  the  newspapers,  no  matter  what  the 
subject ;  the  whole  pack  of  the  Essex  kennel  would  open  upon  me.  With 
respect,  however,  to  so  much  of  my  letter  of  January  gth  as  relates  to  manu 
factures,  I  have  less  repugnance,  because  there  is  perhaps  a  degree  of  duty  to 
avow  a  change  of  opinion  called  for  by  a  change  of  circumstance,  and  es 
pecially  on  a  point  now  become  peculiarly  interesting. 

What  relates  to  Bonaparte  stands  on  different  ground.  You  think  it  will 
silence  the  misrepresentations  of  my  enemies  as  to  my  opinion  of  him.  No, 
Sir ;  it  will  not  silence  them.  They  had  no  ground  either  in  my  words  or 
actions  for  these  misrepresentations  before,  and  cannot  have  less  afterwards  ; 
nor  will  they  calumniate  less.  There  is,  however,  a  consideration  respecting 
our  own  friends,  which  may  merit  attention.  I  have  grieved  to  see  even  good 
republicans  so  infatuated  as  to  this  man,  as  to  consider  his  downfall  as  calami 
tous  to  the  cause  of  liberty.  In  their  indignation  against  England  which  is 
just,  they  seem  to  consider  all  her  enemies  as  our  friends,  when  it  is  well  known 
there  was  not  a  being  on  earth  who  bore  us  so  deadly  a  hatred.  In  fact,  he 
saw  nothing  in  this  world  but  himself,  and  looked  on  the  people  under  him  as 
his  cattle,  beasts  for  burthen  and  slaughter.  Promises  cost  him  nothing  when 
they  could  serve  his  purpose.  On  his  return  from  Elba,  what  did  he  not  promise  ? 
But  those  who  had  credited  them  a  little,  soon  saw  their  total  insignificance, 
and,  satisfied  they  could  not  fall  under  worse  hands,  refused  every  effort  after 
the  defeat  of  Waterloo.  Their  present  sufferings  will  have  a  term  ;  his  iron 
despotism  would  have  had  none.  France  has  now  a  family  of  fools  at  its  head, 
from  whom,  whenever  it  can  shake  off  its  foreign  riders,  it  will  extort  a  free 
constitution,  or  dismount  them  and  establish  some  other  on  the  solid  basis  of 
national  right.  To  whine  after  this  exorcised  demon  is  a  disgrace  to  republi 
cans,  and  must  have  arisen  either  from  want  of  reflection,  or  the  indulgence  of 
passion  against  principle.  If  anything  I  have  said  could  lead  them  to  take  cor- 
recter  views,  to  rally  to  the  polar  principles  of  genuine  republicanism,  I  could 
consent  that  that  part  of  my  letter  also  should  go  into  a  newspaper.  This  I 
leave  to  yourself  and  such  candid  friends  as  you  may  consult.  There  is  one 
word  in  the  letter,  however,  which  decency  towards  the  allied  sovereigns 
requires  should  be  softened.  Instead  of  despots,  call  them  rulers.  The 
first  paragraph,  too,  of  seven  or  eight  lines,  must  be  wholly  omitted.  Trusting 
all  the  rest  to  your  discretion,  I  salute  you  with  great  esteem  and  respect. 

12  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 


MONTICELLO  Jan.  10.  16. 

DEAR  SIR, — Of  the  last  5  months  4  have  been  passed  at  my 
distant  possession,  to  which  no  letters  are  carried  to  me,  because 
the  crosspost  is  too  circuitous  and  unsafe  to  be  trusted.  On  my 
return  I  find  an  immense  accumulation  of  them  calling  for 
answers,  &  among  these  your  favor  of  the  25th  ult.  In  this  you  re 
quest  me  to  examine  the  MS.  tract  it  covered,  to  suggest  amend 
ments  or  alterations,  give  my  remarks  &  opinion  of  the  propriety 
of  the  sentiments,  point  out  improvements,  and  say  whether  it 
should  be  published  now.  From  this  undertaking,  my  good  sir, 
I  must  pray  you  to  excuse  me.  In  the  first  place  I  really  have 
not  the  time  to  spare.  My  other  occupations  are  incessant  and 
indispensable.  Within  doors  and  without,  there  is  something  ever 
pressing,  insomuch  that  I  often  have  not  a  moment  to  read  the 
papers  of  the  day,  and  if  to  read  anything  else  it  must  be  in 
hours  stolen  from  those  of  sleep.  In  the  next  place  I  have  made 
it  a  point  not  to  meddle  with  the  writings  of  others.  It  is  un 
pleasant  to  one's  self,  and  generally  injurious  to  the  composition 
reviewed.  The  train  in  which  a  man  commits  his  own  thoughts 
to  paper  has  in  it  generally  a  certain  method  and  order.  If  this 
be  altered,  interrupted,  chequered  by  the  ideas  of  another,  the 
composition  becomes  a  medley  of  different  views  on  the  same 
subject,  incoherent  &  deformed.  So  few  are  my  spare  moments 
that  I  have  not  been  able  even  to  read  it  through  :  because  the 
MS.  is  in  a  handwriting  extremely  difficult  to  me  ;  and  I  shall 
read  it  with  more  pleasure,  and  more  understanding  in  print.  I 
concur  with  you  in  it's  design  ;  and  as  far  as  I  have  penetrated, 
I  find  the  matter  good  and  am  sure  it  will  be  useful.  I  hope 
therefore  to  see  it  in  your  next  magazine  to  be  followed  by  many 
others  having  the  same  object. 

(You  judge  truly  that  I  am  not  afraid  of  the  priests.  They 
have  tried  upon  me  all  their  various  batteries,  of  pious  whining, 
hypocritical  canting,  lying  &  slandering,  without  being  able  to 
give  me  one  moment  of  pain.  I  have  contemplated  their  order 
from  the  Magi  of  the  East  to  the  Saints  of  the  West,  and  I  have 
found  no  difference  of  character,  but  of  more  or  less  caution,  in 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  13 

proportion  to  their  information  or  ignorance  of  those  on  whom 
their  interested  duperies  were  to  be  plaid  off.  Their  sway  in 
New  England  is  indeed  formidable.  No  mind  beyond  mediocrity 
dares  there  to  develope  itself.  If  it  does,  they  excite  against  it 
the  public  opinion  which  they  command,  &  by  little,  but  inces 
sant  and  teasing  persecutions,  drive  it  from  among  them.  Their 
present  emigrations  to  the  Western  country  are  real  flights  from 
persecution,  religious  &  political,  but  the  abandonment  of  the 
country  by  those  who  wish  to  enjoy  freedom  of  opinion  leaves 
the  despotism  over  the  residue  more  intense,  more  oppressive. 
They  are  now  looking  to  the  flesh  pots  of  the  South  and  aiming 
at  foothold  there  by  their  missionary  teachers.  They  have  lately 
come  forward  boldly  with  their  plan  to  establish  '  a  qualified  re 
ligious  instructor  over  every  thousand  souls  in  the  US."  And 
they  seem  to  consider  none  as  qualified  but  their  own  sect. 
Thus,  in  Virginia,  they  say  there  are  but  60,  qualified,  and  that 
914  are  still  wanting  of  the  full  quota.  All  besides  the  60,  are 
'mere  nominal  ministers  unacquainted  with  theology.'  Now  the 
60.  they  allude  to  are  exactly  in  the  string  of  counties  at  the  West 
ern  foot  of  the  Blue  ridge,  settled  originally  by  Irish  presbyter- 
ians,  and  composing  precisely  the  tory  district  of  the  state.  There 
indeed  is  found  in  full  vigor  the  hypocrisy,  the  despotism,  and 
anti-civism  of  the  New  England  qualified  religious  instructors. 
The  country  below  the  mountains,  inhabited  by  Episcopalians, 
Methodists  &  Baptists  (under  mere  nominal  ministers  unac 
quainted  with  theology)  are  pronounced  '  destitute  of  the  means 
of  grace,  and  as  sitting  in  darkness  and  under  the  shadow  of 
death.'  They  are  quite  in  despair  too  at  the  insufficient  means 
of  New  England  to  fill  this  fearful  void,  'with  Evangelical  light, 
with  catechetical  instructions,  weekly  lectures,  &  family  visiting. 
That  Yale  cannot  furnish  above  80.  graduates  annually,  and  Har 
vard  perhaps  not  more.  That  there  must  therefore  be  an  imme 
diate,  universal,  vigorous  &  systematic  effort  made  to  evangelize 
the  nation.  To  see  that  there  is  a  a  bible  for  every  family,  a 
school  for  every  district,  and  a  qualified  (i.  e.  Presbyterian)  'pastor 
for  every  thousand  souls  ;  that  newspapers,  tracts,  magazines 
must  be  employed  ;  the  press  be  made  to  groan,  &  every  pulpit 
in  the  land  to  sound  it's  trumpet  long  and  loud.  A  more  homo- 

i4  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

geneous'  (I.E.  New  England)  'character  must  be  produced 
thro'  the  nation.'  That  section  then  of  our  union  having  lost  it's 
political  influence  by  disloyalty  to  it's  country  is  now  to  recover 
it  under  the  mask  of  religion.  It  is  to  send  among  us  their  Gar- 
diners,  their  Osgoods,  their  Parishes  &  Pearsons,  as  apostles  to 
teach  us  their  orthodoxy.  This  is  the  outline  of  the  plan  as  pub 
lished  by  Messrs.  Beecher,  Pearson  &  Co.  It  has  uttered  how 
ever  one  truth.  '  That  the  nation  must  be  awaked  to  save  itself 
by  it's  own  exertions,  or  we  are  undone.'  And  I  trust  that  this 
publication  will  do  not  a  little  to  awaken  it  ;  and  that  in  aid  of  it 
newspapers,  tracts  and  magazines  must  sound  the  trumpet.  Yours 
I  hope  will  make  itself  heard,  and  the  louder  as  yours  is  the  near 
est  house  in  the  course  of  conflagration.) l 

1  Jefferson  omitted  the  paragraph  which  he  bracketed  as  above,  but  he  sent  a 
transcript  of  it  to  Thomas  Ritchie,  editor  of  the  Richmond  Enquirer,  with  the 
following  letter : 

MONTICELLO,  January  21,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — In  answering  the  letter  of  a  northern  correspondent  lately,  I 
indulged  in  a  tirade  against  a  pamphlet  recently  published  in  this  quarter.  On 
revising  my  letter,  however,  I  thought  it  unsafe  to  commit  myself  so  far  to  a 
stranger.  I  struck  out  the  passage  therefore,  yet  I  think  the  pamphlet  of  such 
a  character  as  not  to  be  unknown,  or  unnoticed  by  the  people  of  the  United 
States.  It  is  the  most  bold  and  impudent  stride  New  England  has  ever  made 
in  arrogating  an  ascendency  over  the  rest  of  the  Union.  The  first  form  of  the 
pamphlet  was  an  address  from  the  Reverend  Lyman  Beecher,  chairman  of  the 
Connecticut  Society  for  the  education  of  pious  young  men  for  the  ministry.  Its 
matter  was  then  adopted  and  published  in  a  sermon  by  Reverend  Mr.  Pearson 
of  Andover  in  Massachusetts,  where  they  have  a  theological  college  ;  and  where 
the  address  "  with  circumstantial  variations  to  adapt  it  to  more  general  use"  is 
reprinted  on  a  sheet  and  a  half  of  paper,  in  so  cheap  a  form  as  to  be  distributed, 
I  imagine,  gratis,  for  it  has  a  final  note  indicating  six  thousand  copies  of  the 
first  edition  printed.  So  far  as  it  respects  Virginia,  the  extract  of  my  letter 
gives  the  outline.  I  therefore  send  it  to  you  to  publish  or  burn,  abridge  or 
alter,  as  you  think  best.  You  understand  the  public  palate  better  than  I  do. 
Only  give  it  such  a  title  as  may  lead  to  no  suspicion  from  whom  you  receive  it. 
I  am  the  more  induced  to  offer  it  to  you  because  it  is  possible  mine  may  be  the 
only  copy  in  the  State,  and  because,  too,  it  may  be  a  propos  for  the  petition  for 
the  establishment  of  a  theological  society  now  before  the  legislature,  and  to  which 
they  have  shown  the  unusual  respect  of  hearing  an  advocate  for  it  at  their  bar. 
From  what  quarter  this  theological  society  comes  forward  I  know  not ;  perhaps 
from  our  own  tramontaine  clergy,  of  New  England  religion  and  politics  ;  per 
haps  it  is  the  entering  wedge  from  its  theological  sister  in  Andover,  for  the  body 

i8i6]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  15 

I  have  not  sent  your  tract  to  the  President  as  you  requested, 
fearing  that  if  any  further  delay  be  added  to  that  already  incurred, 
it  will  be  too  late  for  your  purpose  of  inserting  it  in  the  January 

From  contest  of  every  kind  I  withdraw  myself  entirely.  I  have 
served  my  hour,  and  a  long  one  it  has  been.  Tranquility  is  the 
object  of  my  remaining  years,  and  I  leave  to  more  vigorous  bodies 
&  minds  the  service  which  has  rightfully,  &  in  succession  de 
volved  on  them.  Accept  the  assurances  of  my  great  respect  and 


MONTlCELLO,  January  19,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — At  the  date  of  your  letter  of  Decem 
ber  the  ist,  I  was  in  Bedford,  and  since  my  return,  so 
many  letters,  accumulated  during  my  absence,  have 
been  pressing  for  answers,  that  this  is  the  first  mo 
ment  I  have  been  able  to  attend  to  the  subject  of 
yours.  While  Mr.  Girardin  was  in  this  neighbor 
hood  writing  his  continuation  of  Burke's  history,  I 
had  suggested  to  him  a  proper  notice  of  the  estab 
lishment  of  the  committee  of  correspondence  here  in 
1773,  and  of  Mr.  Carr,  your  father,  who  introduced 
it.  He  has  doubtless  done  this,  and  his  work  is  now 
in  the  press.  My  books,  journals  of  the  times,  &c., 
being  all  gone,  I  have  nothing  now  but  an  impaired 
memory  to  resort  to  for  the  more  particular  statement 
you  wish.  But  I  give  it  with  the  more  confidence,  as  I 
find  that'll  remember  old  things  better  than  new. 

of  "qualified  religious  instructors"  proposed  by  their  pious  brethren  of  the 
East  "  to  evangelize  and  catechize,"  to  edify  our  daughters  by  weekly  lectures, 
and  our  wives  by  "  family  visits"  from  these  pious  young  monks  from  Harvard 
and  Yale.  However,  do  with  this  what  you  please,  and  be  assured  of  my 
friendship  and  respect. 

1 6  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

The  transaction  took  place  in  the  session  of  Assem 
bly  of  March  1773.  Patrick  Henry,  Richard  Henry 
Lee,  Frank  Lee,  your  father  and  myself,  met  by 
agreement,  one  evening,  about  the  close  of  the  ses 
sion,  at  the  Raleigh  Tavern,  to  consult  on  the  meas 
ures  which  the  circumstances  of  the  times  seemed  to 
call  for.  We  agreed,  in  result,  that  concert  in  the 
operations  of  the  several  colonies  was  indispensable  ; 
and  that  to  produce  this,  some  channel  of  corre 
spondence  between  them  must  be  opened  ;  that  there 
fore,  we  would  propose  to  our  House  the  appointment 
of  a  committee  of  correspondence,  which  should  be 
authorized  and  instructed  to  write  to  the  Speakers  of 
the  House  of  Representatives  of  the  several  Colonies, 
recommending  the  appointment  of  similar  committees 
on  their  part,  who,  by  a  communication  of  sentiment 
on  the  transactions  threatening  us  all,  might  promote 
a  harmony  of  action  salutary  to  all.  This  was  the 
substance,  not  pretending  to  remember  the  words. 
We  proposed  the  resolution,  and  your  father  was 
agreed  on  to  make  the  motion.  He  did  it  the  next 
day,  March  the  i2th,  with  great  ability,  reconciling 
all  to  it,  not  only  by  the  reasonings,  but  by  the  tem 
per  and  moderation  with  which  it  was  developed.  It 
was  adopted  by  a  very  general  vote.  Peyton  Ran 
dolph,  some  of  us  who  proposed  it,  and  who  else  I 
do  not  remember,  were  appointed  of  the  committee. 
We  immediately  despatched  letters  by  expresses  to 
the  Speakers  of  all  the  other  Assemblies.  I  remem 
ber  that  Mr.  Carr  and  myself,  returning  home  to 
gether,  and  conversing  on  the  subject  by  the  way, 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  17 

concurred  in  the  conclusion  that  that  measure  must 
inevitably  beget  the  meeting  of  a  Congress  of  Dep 
uties  from  all  the  colonies,  for  the  purpose  of  uniting 
all  in  the  same  principles  and  measures  for  the  main 
tenance  of  our  rights.  My  memory  cannot  deceive 
me,  when  I  affirm  that  we  did  it  in  consequence  of 
no  such  proposition  from  any  other  colony.  No 
doubt  the  resolution  itself  and  the  journals  of  the  day 
will  show  that  ours  was  original,  and  not  merely  re 
sponsive  to  one  from  any  other  quarter.  Yet,  I  am 
certain  I  remember  also,  that  a  similar  proposition, 
and  nearly  cotemporary,  was  made  by  Massachusetts, 
and  that  our  northern  messenger  passed  theirs  on  the 
road.  This,  too,  may  be  settled  by  recurrence  to  the 
records  of  Massachusetts.  The  proposition  was  gen 
erally  acceded  to  by  the  other  colonies,  and  the  first 
effect,  as  expected,  was  the  meeting  of  a  Congress  at 
New  York  the  ensuing  year.  The  committee  of  cor 
respondence  appointed  by  Massachusetts,  as  quoted 
by  you  from  Marshall,  under  the  date  of  1770,  must 
have  been  for  a  special  purpose,  and  functus  officio 
before  the  date  of  1773,  or  Massachusetts  herself 
would  not  then  have  proposed  another.  Records 
should  be  examined  to  settle  this  accurately.  I  well 
remember  the  pleasure  expressed  in  the  countenance 
and  conversation  of  the  members  generally,  on  this 
debut  of  Mr.  Carr,  and  the  hopes  they  conceived  as 
well  from  the  talents  as  the  patriotism  it  manifested. 
But  he  died  within  two  months  after,  and  in  him  we 
lost  a  powerful  fellow-laborer.  His  character  was  of 
a  high  order.  A  spotless  integrity,  sound  judgment, 

1 8  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

handsome  imagination,  enriched  by  education  and 
reading,  quick  and  clear  in  his  conceptions,  of  correct 
and  ready  elocution,  impressing  every  hearer  with  the 
sincerity  of  the  heart  from  which  it  flowed.  His 
firmness  was  inflexible  in  whatever  he  thought  was 
right;  but  when  no  moral  principle  stood  in  the  way, 
never  had  man  more  of  the  milk  of  human  kindness, 
of  indulgence,  of  softness,  of  pleasantry  of  conversa 
tion  and  conduct.  The  number  of  his  friends,  and 
the  warmth  of  their  affection,  were  proofs  of  his  worth, 
and  of  their  estimate  of  it.  To  give  to  those  now 
living,  an  idea  of  the  affliction  produced  by  his  death 
in  the  minds  of  all  who  knew  him,  I  liken  it  to  that 
lately  felt  by  themselves  on  the  death  of  his  eldest 
son,  Peter  Carr,  so  like  him  in  all  his  endowments 
and  moral  qualities,  and  whose  recollection  can  never 
recur  without  a  deep-drawn  sigh  from  the  bosom  of 
any  one  who  knew  him.  You  mention  that  I  showed 
you  an  inscription  I  had  proposed  for  the  tomb  stone 
of  your  father.  Did  I  leave  it  in  your  hands  to  be 
copied  ?  I  ask  the  question,  not  that  I  have  any 
such  recollection,  but  that  I  find  it  no  longer  in  the 
place  of  its  deposit,  and  think  I  never  took  it  out  but 
on  that  occasion.  Ever  and  affectionately  yours. 


MONTICELLO,  February  4,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  letter  concerning  that  of  General  Scott  is 
received,  and  his  is  now  returned.  I  am  very  thankful  for  these 
communications.  From  forty  years'  experience  of  the  wretched 
guess-work  of  the  newspapers  of  what  is  not  done  in  open  day 
light,  and  of  their  falsehood  even  as  to  that,  I  rarely  think  them 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  19 

worth  reading,  and  almost  never  worth  notice.  A  ray,  therefore, 
now  and  then,  from  the  fountain  of  light,  is  like  sight  restored 
to  the  blind.  It  tells  me  where  I  am  ;  and  that  to  a  mariner  who 
has  long  been  without  sight  of  land  or  sun,  is  a  rallying  of  reck 
oning  which  places  him  at  ease.  The  ground  you  have  taken 
with  Spain  is  sound  in  every  part.  It  is  the  true  ground,  es 
pecially,  as  to  the  South  Americans.  When  subjects  are  able  to 
maintain  themselves  in  the  field,  they  are  then  an  independent 
power  as  to  all  neutral  nations,  are  entitled  to  their  commerce, 
and  to  protection  within  their  limits.  Every  kindness  which  can 
be  shown  the  South  Americans,  every  friendly  office  and  aid 
within  the  limits  of  the  law  of  nations,  I  would  extend  to  them, 
without  fearing  Spain  or  her  Swiss  auxiliaries.  For  this  is  but 
an  assertion  of  our  own  independence.  But  to  join  in  their  war, 
as  General  Scott  proposes,  and  to  which  even  some  members  of 
Congress  seem  to  squint,  is  what  we  ought  not  to  do  as  yet.  On 
the  question  of  our  interest  in  their  independence,  were  that  alone 
a  sufficient  motive  of  action,  much  may  be  said  on  both  sides. 
When  they  are  free,  they  will  drive  every  article  of  our  produce 
from  every  market,  by  underselling  it,  and  change  the  condition 
of  our  existence,  forcing  us  into  other  habits  and  pursuits.  We 
shall,  indeed,  have  in  exchange  some  commerce  with  them,  but 
in  what  I  know  not,  for  we  shall  have  nothing  to  offer  which 
they  cannot  raise  cheaper  ;  and  their  separation  from  Spain  seals 
our  everlasting  peace  with  her.  On  the  other  hand,  so  long  as 
they  are  dependent,  Spain,  from  her  jealousy,  is  our  natural 
enemy,  and  always  in  either  open  or  secret  hostility  with  us. 
These  countries,  too,  in  war,  will  be  a  powerful  weight  in  her 
scale,  and,  in  peace,  totally  shut  to  us.  Interest  then,  on  the 
whole,  would  wish  their  independence,  and  justice  makes  the 
wish  a  duty.  They  have  a  right  to  be  free,  and  we  a  right  to 
aid  them,  as  a  strong  man  has  a  right  to  assist  a  weak  one  as 
sailed  by  a  robber  or  murderer.  That  a  war  is  brewing  between 
us  and  Spain  cannot  be  doubted.  When  that  disposition  is  ma 
tured  on  both  sides,  and  open  rupture  can  no  longer  be  deferred, 
then  will  be  the  time  for  our  joining  the  South  Americans,  and 
entering  into  treaties  of  alliance  with  them.  There  will  then  be 
but  one  opinion,  at  home  or  abroad,  that  we  shall  be  justifiable 

20  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

in  choosing  to  have  them  with  us,  rather  than  against  us.  In 
the  meantime,  they  will  have  organized  regular  governments, 
and  perhaps  have  formed  themselves  into  one  or  more  confeder 
acies  ;  more  than  one  I  hope,  as  in  single  mass  they  would  be  a 
very  formidable  neighbor.  The  geography  of  their  country 
seems  to  indicate  three  :  i.  What  is  north  of  the  Isthmus.  2. 
What  is  south  of  it  on  the  Atlantic  ;  and  3.  The  southern  part 
on  the  Pacific.  In  this  form,  we  might  be  the  balancing  power. 
A  propos  of  the  dispute  with  Spain,  as  to  the  boundary  of  Louis 
iana.  On  our  acquisition  of  that  country,  there  was  found  in  pos 
session  of  the  family  of  the  late  Governor  Messier,  a  most  valuable 
and  original  MS.  history  of  the  settlement  of  Louisiana  by  the 
French,  written  by  Bernard  de  la  Harpe,  a  principal  agent 
through  the  whole  of  it.  It  commences  with  the  first  permanent 
settlement  of  1699,  (that  by  de  la  Salle  in  1684,  having  been 
broken  up,)  and  continues  to  1723,  and  shows  clearly  the  con. 
tinual  claim  of  France  to  the  Province  of  Texas,  as  far  as  the 
Rio  Bravo,  and  to  all  the  waters  running  into  the  Mississippi,  and 
how,  by  the  roguery  of  St.  Denis,  an  agent  of  Crozat  the  mer 
chant,  to  whom  the  colony  was  granted  for  ten  years,  the  settle 
ments  of  the  Spaniards  at  Nacadoches,  Adais,  Assinays,  and 
Natchitoches,  were  fraudulently  invited  and  connived  at.  Cro- 
zat's  object  was  commerce,  and  especially  contraband,  with  the 
Spaniards,  and  these  posts  were  settled  as  convenient  smuggling 
stages  on  the  way  to  Mexico.  The  history  bears  such  marks  of 
authenticity  as  place  it  beyond  question.  Governor  Claiborne 
obtained  the  MS.  for  us,  and  thinking  it  too  hazardous  to  risk  its 
loss  by  the  way,  unless  a  copy  were  retained,  he  had  a  copy 
taken.  The  original  having  arrived  safe  at  Washington,  he  sent 
me  the  copy,  which  I  now  have.  Is  the  original  still  in  your 
office  ?  or  was  it  among  the  papers  burnt  by  the  British  ?  If  lost, 
I  will  send  you  my  copy  ;  if  preserved,  it  is  my  wish  to  deposit 
the  copy  for  safe  keeping  with  the  Philosophical  Society  at 
Philadelphia,  where  it  will  be  safer  than  on  my  shelves.  I  da 
not  mean  that  any  part  of  this  letter  shall  give  to  yourself  the 
trouble  of  an  answer  ;  only  desire  Mr.  Graham  to  see  if  the  origi 
nal  still  exists  in  your  office,  and  to  drop  me  a  line  saying  yea  or 
nay ;  and  I  shall  know  what  to  do.  Indeed  the  MS.  ought  to 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  21 

be  printed,  and  I  see  a  note  to  my  copy  which  shows  it  has  been 
in  contemplation,  and  that  it  was  computed  to  be  of  twenty 
sheets  at  sixteen  dollars  a  sheet,  for  three  hundred  and  twenty 
copies,  which  would  sell  at  one  dollar  apiece,  and  reimburse  the 
expense.  *  *  * 


MONTICELLO,  Apr.  7,  16. 

GENTLEMEN, — I  received  by  our  last  mail  only,  your  favor  of 
Mar.  19,  reminding  me  of  a  very  ancient  and  very  just  debt  to 
Messrs.  Van  Staphorsts,  and  which  I  ought  certainly  long  ago  to 
have  replaced  to  them,  unasked.  But,  engaged  constantly  in 
offices  of  more  expence  than  compensation,  our  means  are  ever 
absorbed  as  soon  as  received  by  the  needy  who  press,  while  the 
indulgent  lie  over  for  a  moment  of  greater  convenience.  Yet 
ancient  and  just  as  is  this  debt,  it  presents  itself  at  a  moment 
when  I  am  not  prepared  to  meet  it.  I  am  a  landholder,  and  de 
pend  on  the  income  of  my  farms.  Three  years  of  war  &  close 
blockade  of  the  Chesapeak  compleatly  sunk  the  produce  of  those 
three  years,  and  the  year  of  peace  which  has  followed  has  barely 
met  arrearages  and  taxes.  Commerce  and  free  markets  being 
now  restored  to  us,  we  may  count  on  the  future  with  more  cer 
tainty.  I  shall  be  able  to  pay  off  one  of  my  bonds  \torn\  at  the 
date  of  a  year  from  this  time,  and  one  other  each  year  after  until 
the  three  are  discharged.  I  hope  that  this  arrangement  will  be 
acceptable  to  Messrs.  Van  Staphorsts,  and  that  their  indulgence 
will  not  be  withdrawn  suddenly  and  all  at  once.  With  the  for 
bearance  I  ask,  I  shall  replace  their  money  from  annual  income 
which  I  can  spare,  and  be  saved  the  regret  of  injuriously  mutilat 
ing  my  landed  property.  It  will  give  me  great  pleasure  to  learn 
that  the  measure  of  kindness  hitherto  shewn,  will  be  filled  up  by 
so  mucfr  further  forbearance,  as  will  make  it  in  the  end,  as  it  was 
in  the  beginning,  a  salutary  accommodation.  Accept  the  assur 
ances  of  my  great  esteem  &  respect.1 

1  On  August  15,  1816,  Jefferson  wrote  to  Leroy  and  Bayard. 

MONTICELLO,  Aug.  15,  16. 
GENTLEMEN, — Your  favor  of  the  7th  is  received,  and  I  shall  endeavor  to 

22  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 


POPLAR  FOREST,  April  24,  1816. 

I  received,  my  dear  friend,  your  letter  covering  the  constitution 
for  your  Equinoctial  republics,  just  as  I  was  setting  out  for  this 
place.  I  brought  it  with  me,  and  have  read  it  with  great  satis 
faction.  I  suppose  it  well  formed  for  those  for  whom  it  was  in 
tended,  and  the  excellence  of  every  government  is  its  adaptation 
to  the  state  of  those  to  be  governed  by  it.  For  us  it  would  not 
do.  Distinguishing  between  the  structure  of  the  government  and 
the  moral  principles  on  which  you  prescribe  its  administration, 
with  the  latter  we  concur  cordially,  with  the  former  we  should 
not.  We  of  the  United  States,  you  know,  are  constitutionally 
and  conscientiously  democrats.  We  consider  society  as  one  of 
the  natural  wants  with  which  man  has  been  created  ;  that  he  has 
been  endowed  with  faculties  and  qualities  to  effect  its  satisfaction 
by  concurrence  of  others  having  the  same  want  ;  that  when,  by 
the  exercise  of  these  faculties,  he  has  procured  a  state  of  society, 
it  is  one  of  his  acquisitions  which  he  has  a  right  to  regulate  and 
control,  jointly  indeed  with  all  those  who  have  concurred  in  the 
procurement,  whom  he  cannot  exclude  from  its  use  or  direction 
more  than  they  him.  We  think  experience  has  proved  it  safer, 
for  the  mass  of  individuals  composing  the  society,  to  reserve 
to  themselves  personally  the  exercise  of  all  rightful  powers  to 
which  they  are  competent,  and  to  delegate  those  to  which  they 
are  not  competent  to  deputies  named,  and  removable  for  unfaith 
ful  conduct,  by  themselves  immediately.  Hence,  with  us,  the 
people  (by  which  is  meant  the  mass  of  individuals  composing  the 
society)  being  competent  to  judge  of  the  facts  occurring  in  ordi 
nary  life,  they  have  retained  the  functions  of  judges  of  facts, 
under  the  name  of  jurors  ;  but  being  unqualified  for  the  manage 
ment  of  affairs  requiring  intelligence  above  the  common  level, 

comply  as  exactly  as  in  my  power  with  the  instalments  with  which  Messrs.  Van 
Staphorsts  are  so  kind  as  to  indulge  me.  My  resources  are  those  of  a  farmer, 
depending  on  the  produce  of  my  farms,  which  is  usually  sold  in  April  or  May, 
but  sometimes  necessarily  on  some  credit  to  avoid  sacrificing  it,  which  I  am 
sure  the  kind  motives  of  the  loan  would  spare  were  these  causes  at  any  time  to 
oblige  me  to  overrun  the  exact  day.  Accept  my  thanks  for  your  friendly  in 
termediation  in  this  business  and  the  assurance  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  23 

yet  competent  judges  of  human  character,  they  chose,  for  their 
management,  representatives,  some  by  themselves  immediately, 
others  by  electors  chosen  by  themselves.  Thus  our  President  is 
chosen  by  ourselves,  directly  in  practice,  for  we  vote  for  A  as 
elector  only  on  the  condition  he  will  vote  for  B,  our  representa 
tives  by  ourselves  immediately,  our  Senate  and  judges  of  law 
through  electors  chosen  by  ourselves.  And  we  believe  that  this 
proximate  choice  and  power  of  removal  is  the  best  security  which 
experience  has  sanctioned  for  ensuring  an  honest  conduct  in  the 
functionaries  of  society.  Your  three  or  four  alembications  have 
indeed  a  seducing  appearance.  We  should  conceive  primd  facie, 
that  the  last  extract  would  be  the  pure  alcohol  of  the  substance, 
three  or  four  times  rectified.  But  in  proportion  as  they  are  more 
and  more  sublimated,  they  are  also  farther  and  farther  removed 
from  the  control  of  the  society  ;  and  the  human  character,  we 
believe,  requires  in  general  constant  and  immediate  control,  to 
prevent  its  being  biased  from  right  by  the  seductions  of  self-love. 
Your  process  produces  therefore  a  structure  of  government  from 
which  the  fundamental  principle  of  ours  is  excluded.  You  first 
set  down  as  zeros  all  individuals  not  having  lands,  which  are 
the  greater  number  in  every  society  of  long  standing.  Those 
holding  lands  are  permitted  to  manage  in  person  the  small  affairs 
of  their  commune  or  corporation,  and  to  elect  a  deputy  for  the 
canton  ;  in  which  election,  too,  every  one's  vote  is  to  be  an  unit, 
a  plurality,  or  a  fraction,  in  proportion  to  his  landed  possessions. 
The  assemblies  of  cantons,  then,  elect  for  the  districts  ;  those  of 
districts  for  circles  ;  and  those  of  circles  for  the  national  assem 
blies.  Some  of  these  highest  councils,  too,  are  in  a  considerable 
degree  self-elected,  the  regency  partially,  the  judiciary  entirely, 
and  some  are  for  life.  Whenever,  therefore,  an  esprit  de  corps, 
or  of  party,  gets  possession  of  them,  which  experience  shows  to 
be  inevitable,  there  are  no  means  of  breaking  it  up,  for  they  will 
never  elfcct  but  those  of  their  own  spirit.  Juries  are  allowed  in 
criminal  cases  only.  I  acknowledge  myself  strong  in  affection  to 
our  own  form,  yet  both  of  us  act  and  think  from  the  same  mo 
tive,  we  both  consider  the  people  as  our  children,  and  love  them 
with  parental  affection.  But  you  love  them  as  infants  whom  you 
are  afraid  to  trust  without  nurses  ;  and  I  as  adults  whom  I  freely 

24  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

leave  to  self-government.  And  you  are  right  in  the  case  referred 
to  you  ;  my  criticism  being  built  on  a  state  of  society  not  under 
your  contemplation.  It  is,  in  fact,  like  a  critic  on  Homer  by  the 
laws  of  the  Drama. 

But  when  we  come  to  the  moral  principles  on  which  the  gov 
ernment  is  to  be  administered,  we  come  to  what  is  proper  for  all 
conditions  of  society.  I  meet  you  there  in  all  the  benevolence 
and  rectitude  of  your  native  character  ;  and  I  love  myself  always 
most  where  I  concur  most  with  you.  Liberty,  truth,  probity, 
honor,  are  declared  to  be  the  four  cardinal  principles  of  your 
society.  I  believe  with  you  that  morality,  compassion,  generosity, 
are  innate  elements  of  the  human  constitution  ;  that  there  exists 
a  right  independent  of  force  ;  that  a  right  to  property  is  founded 
in  our  natural  wants,  in  the  means  with  which  we  are  endowed  to 
satisfy  these  wants,  and  the  right  to  what  we  acquire  by  those 
means  without  violating  the  similar  rights  of  other  sensible 
beings  ;  that  no  one  has  a  right  to  obstruct  another,  exercising 
his  faculties  innocently  for  the  relief  of  sensibilities  made  a  part 
of  his  nature  ;  that  justice  is  the  fundamental  law  of  society  ; 
that  the  majority,  oppressing  an  individual,  is  guilty  of  a  crime, 
abuses  its  strength,  and  by  acting  on  the  law  of  the  strongest 
breaks  up  the  foundations  of  society  ;  that  action  by  the  citizens 
in  person,  in  affairs  within  their  reach  and  competence,  and  in 
all  others  by  representatives,  chosen  immediately,  and  removable 
by  themselves,  constitutes  the  essence  of  a  republic  ;  that  all 
governments  are  more  or  less  republican  in  proportion  as  this 
principle  enters  more  or  less  into  their  composition  ;  and  that  a 
government  by  representation  is  capable  of  extension  over  a 
greater  surface  of  country  than  one  of  any  other  form  These, 
my  friend,  are  the  essentials  in  which  you  and  I  agree  ;  however, 
in  our  zeal  for  their  maintenance,  we  may  be  perplexed  and  di 
varicate,  as  to  the  structure  of  society  most  likely  to  secure  them. 

In  the  constitution  of  Spain,  as  proposed  by  the  late  Cortes, 
there  was  a  principle  entirely  new  to  me,  and  not  noticed  in 
yours,  that  no  person,  born  after  that  day,  should  ever  acquire 
the  rights  of  citizenship  until  he  could  read  and  write.  It  is  im 
possible  sufficiently  to  estimate  the  wisdom  of  this  provision.  Of 
all  those  which  have  been  thought  of  for  securing  fidelity  in  the 

i8i6]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  25 

administration  of  the  government,  constant  ralliance  $o  the  prin 
ciples  of  the  constitution,  and  progressive  amendments  with  the 
progressive  advances  of  the  human  mind,  or  changes  in  human 
affairs,  it  is  the  most  effectual.  Enlighten  the  people  generally, 
and  tyranny  and  oppressions  of  body  and  mind  will  vanish  like 
evil  spirits  at  the  dawn  of  day.  Although  I  do  not,  with  some 
enthusiasts,  believe  that  the  human  condition  will  ever  advance 
to  such  a  state  of  perfection  as  that  there  shall  no  longer  be  pain 
or  vice  in  the  world,  yet  I  believe  it  susceptible  of  much  improve 
ment,  and  most  of  all,  in  matters  of  government  and  religion  ; 
and  that  the  diffusion  of  knowledge  among  the  people  is  to  be 
the  instrument  by  which  it  is  to  be  effected.  The  constitution  of 
the  Cortes  had  defects  enough  ;  but  when  I  saw  in  it  this  amend 
atory  provision,  I  was  satisfied  all  would  come  right  in  time, 
under  its  salutary  operation.  No  people  have  more  need  of  a 
similar  provision  than  those  for  whom  you  have  felt  so  much 
interest.  No  mortal  wishes  them  more  success  than  I  do.  But 
if  what  I  have  heard  of  the  ignorance  and  bigotry  of  the  mass  be 
true,  I  doubt  their  capacity  to  understand  and  to  support  a  free 
government  ;  and  fear  that  their  emancipation  from  the  foreign 
tyranny  of  Spain,  will  result  in  a  military  despotism  at  home. 
Palacios  may  be  great  ;  others  may  be  great ;  but  it  is  the  multi 
tude  which  possess  force  :  and  wisdom  must  yield  to  that.  For 
such  a  condition  of  society,  the  constitution  you  have  devised  is 
probably  the  best  imaginable.  It  is  certainly  calculated  to  elicit 
the  best  talents  ;  although  perhaps  not  well  guarded  against  the 
egoism  of  its  functionaries.  But  that  egoism  will  be  light  in 
comparison  with  the  pressure  of  a  military  despot,  and  his  army 
of  Janissaries.  Like  Solon  to  the  Athenians,  you  have  given  to 
your  Columbians,  not  the  best  possible  government,  but  the  best 
they  can  bear.  By-the-bye,  I  wish  you  had  called  them  the 
Columbian  republics,  to  distinguish  them  from  our  American 
republics.  Theirs  would  be  the  most  honorable  name,  and  they 
best  entitled  to  it ;  for  Columbus  discovered  their  continent,  but 
never  saw  ours. 

To  them  liberty  and  happiness  ;  to  you  the  meed  of  wisdom 
and  goodness  in  teaching  them  how  to  attain  them,  with  the 
affectionate  respect  and  friendship  of, 

26  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

TO  DR.  GEORGE    LOGAN.  j.  MSS. 

MONTICELLO,  May  19.    16. 

It  gives  me  the  greatest  pain,  dear  Sir,  to  make  a  serious  com 
plaint  to  you.  From  the  letter  which  I  wrote  you  on  the  3d  of 
Oct.  1813.  an  extract  was  published  with  my  name,  in  the  news 
papers,  conveying  a  very  just,  but  certainly  a  very  harsh  censure 
on  Bonaparte.  This  produced  to  me  more  complaints  from  my  best 
friends,  and  called  for  more  explanations  than  any  transaction  of 
my  life  had  ever  done.  They  inferred  from  this  partial  extract  an 
approbation  of  the  conduct  of  England,  which  yet  the  same  letter 
had  censured  with  equal  rigour.  It  produced  too  from  the  Minister 
of  Bonaparte  a  complaint,  not  indeed  formal,  for  I  was  but  a  pri 
vate  citizen,  but  serious,  of  my  volunteering  with  England  in  the 
abuse  of  his  sovereign.  It  was  incumbent  on  me  to  explain,  by 
declaring  to  a  member  of  the  government  that  the  extract  was 
partial,  and  it's  publication  unauthorised.  Notwithstanding  the 
pain  which  this  act  had  cost  me,  considering  it  on  your  part  but 
as  a  mere  inadvertence,  on  the  receipt  of  your  letter  of  Aug.  16. 
15.  I  wrote  an  answer  of  Oct.  13.  &  again  on  receipt  of  that  of 
the  27th  Ult.  I  had  begun  an  answer,  when  the  arrival  of  our 
mail  put  into  my  hands  a  newspaper  containing  at  full  length 
mine  of  Oct.  13.  It  became  necessary  then  to  ask  myself  seriously 
whether  I  meant  to  enter  as  a  political  champion  in  the  field  of 
the  newspapers  ?  He  who  does  this  throws  the  gauntlet  of  chal 
lenge  to  every  one  who  will  take  it  up.  It  behoves  him  then  to 
weigh  maturely  every  sentiment,  every  fact,  every  sentence  and 
syllable  he  commits  to  paper,  and  to  be  certain  that  he  is  ready 
with  reason,  and  testimony  to  maintain  every  tittle  before  the  tri 
bunal  of  the  public.  But  this  is  not  our  purpose  when  we  write 
to  a  friend.  We  are  careless,  incorrect,  in  haste,  perhaps  under 
some  transient  excitement,  and  we  hazard  things  without  reflec 
tion,  because  without  consequence  in  the  bosom  of  a  friend. 
Perhaps  it  may  be  said  that  the  letter  of  Oct.  15  contained  nothing 
offensive  to  others,  nothing  which  could  injure  myself.  It  con 
tained  reprobation  of  the  murders  and  desolations  committed  by 
the  French  nation,  under  their  leader  Bonaparte.  It  contained  a 
condemnation  of  the  allied  powers  for  seizing  and  taking  to  them 
selves  independent  &  unoffending  countries,  because  too  weak  to 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  27 

defend  themselves.  In  this  they  had  done  wrong,  but  was  it  my 
business  to  become  the  public  accuser  ?  And  to  undertake  be 
fore  the  world  to  renounce  their  iniquities  ?  And  do  you  not 
think  I  had  a  right  to  decide  this  for  myself  ?  And  to  say  whether 
the  sentiments  I  trusted  to  you  were  meant  for  the  whole  world  ? 
I  am  sure  that  on  reflection  you  will  perceive  that  I  ought  to  have 
been  consulted. 

I  might  have  manifested  my  dissatisfaction  by  a  silent  reserve 
of  all  answer.  But  this  would  have  offered  a  blank,  which  might 
have  been  filled  up  with  erroneous  imputations  of  sentiment.  I 
prefer  candid  and  open  expression.  No  change  of  good  will  to 
you,  none  in  my  estimate  of  your  integrity  or  understanding,  has 
taken  place,  except  as  to  your  particular  opinion  on  the  rights  of 
correspondence  :  and  I  pray  you  especially  to  assure  Mrs.  Logan 
of  my  constant  and  affectionate  esteem  &  attachment,  the  just 
tribute  of  a  respect  for  the  virtues  of  her  heart  &  head.1 


MONTICELLO,  May  28,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — On  my  return  from  a  long  journey  and  considera 
ble  absence  from  home,  I  found  here  the  copy  of  your  "  Enquiry 
into  the  principles  of  our  government,"  which  you  had  been  so 

1  Jefferson  further  wrote  to  Logan. 

MONTICELLO,  June  20.  1816. 

Dear  Sir, — Your  favor  of  the  5th  is  now  received.  I  never  doubted  the 
purity  of  your  intentions  in  the  publications  of  which  I  complained  ;  but  the 
correctness  only  of  committing  to  the  public  a  private  correspondence  not  in 
tended  for  their  eye.  As  to  federal  slanders,  I  never  wished  them  to  be  answered, 
but  by  the  tenor  of  my  life,  half  a  century  of  which  has  been  on  a  theatre  at 
which  the  public  have  been  spectators,  and  competent  judges  of  it's  merit. 
Their  approbation  has  taught  a  lesson,  useful  to  the  world,  that  the  man  who 
fears  no  truths  has  nothing  to  fear  from  lies.  I  should  have  fancied  myself 
half  guilty  had  I  condescended  to  put  pen  to  paper  in  refutation  of  their  false 
hoods,  or  drawn  to  them  respect  by  any  notice  from  myself.  But  let  all  this 
be  forgotten.  Knowing  now  my  repugnance  to  take  any  part  in  public  discus 
sions,  I  shall  be  confident  in  future  of  being  spared  that  pain,  and  avail  myself 
freely  of  every  occasion  of  renewing  to  Mrs.  Logan  and  yourself  the  assurance 
of  my  sincere  &  friendly  remembrance,  respect  and  attachment. 

28  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

kind  as  to  send  me  ;  and  for  which  I  pray  you  to  accept  my 
thanks.  The  difficulties  of  getting  new  works  in  our  situation,  in 
land  and  without  a  single  bookstore,  are  such  as  had  prevented 
my  obtaining  a  copy  before  ;  and  letters  which  had  accumulated 
during  my  absence,  and  were  calling  for  answers,  have  not  yet 
permitted  me  to  give  to  the  whole  a  thorough  reading  ;  yet  cer 
tain  that  you  and  I  could  not  think  differently  on  the  fundamen 
tals  of  rightful  government,  I  was  impatient,  and  availed  myself 
of  the  intervals  of  repose  from  the  writing  table,  to  obtain  a  cur 
sory  idea  of  the  body  of  the  work. 

I  see  in  it  much  matter  for  profound  reflection  ;  much  which 
should  confirm  our  adhesion,  in  practice,  to  the  good  principles 
of  our  constitution,  and  fix  our  attention  on  what  is  yet  to  be 
made  good.  The  sixth  section  on  the  good  moral  principles  of 
our  government,  I  found  so  interesting  and  replete  with  sound 
principles,  as  to  postpone  my  letter-writing  to  its  thorough  peru 
sal  and  consideration.  Besides  much  other  good  matter,  it  set 
tles  unanswerably  the  right  of  instructing  representatives,  and 
their  duty  to  obey.  The  system  of  banking  we  have  both 
equally  and  ever  reprobated.  I  contemplate  it  as  a  blot  left  in 
all  our  constitutions,  which,  if  not  covered,  will  end  in  their  de 
struction,  which  is  already  hit  by  the  gamblers  in  corruption,  and 
is  sweeping  away  in  its  progress  the  fortunes  and  morals  of  our 
citizens.  Funding  I  consider  as  limited,  rightfully,  to  a  redemp 
tion  of  the  debt  within  the  lives  of  a  majority  of  the  generation 
contracting  it  ;  every  generation  coming  equally,  by  the  laws  of 
the  Creator  of  the  world,  to  the  free  possession  of  the  earth  he 
made  for  their  subsistence,  unincumbered  by  their  predecessors, 
who,  like  them,  were  but  tenants  for  life.  You  have  successfully 
and  completely  pulverized  Mr.  Adams'  system  of  orders,  and  his 
opening  the  mantle  of  republicanism  to  every  government  of 
laws,  whether  consistent  or  not  with  natural  right.  Indeed,  it 
must  be  acknowledged,  that  the  term  republic  is  of  very  vague 
application  in  every  language.  Witness  the  self-styled  republics 
of  Holland,  Switzerland,  Genoa,  Venice,  Poland.  Were  I  to  as 
sign  to  this  term  a  precise  and  definite  idea,  I  would  say,  purely 
and  simply,  it  means  a  government  by  its  citizens  in  mass,  acting 
directly  and  personally,  according  to  rules  established  by  the  ma- 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  29 

jority  ;  and  that  every  other  government  is  more  or  less  repub 
lican,  in  proportion  as  it  has  in  its  composition  more  or  less  of 
this  ingredient  of  the  direct  action  of  the  citizens.  Such  a  gov 
ernment  is  evidently  restrained  to  very  narrow  limits  of  space 
and  population.  I  doubt  if  it  would  be  practicable  beyond  the 
extent  of  a  New  England  township.  The  first  shade  from  this 
pure  element,  which,  like  that  of  pure  vital  air,  cannot  sustain 
life  of  itself,  would  be  where  the  powers  of  the  government,  being 
divided,  should  be  exercised  each  by  representatives  chosen 
either  pro  hac  vice,  or  for  such  short  terms  as  should  render  secure 
the  duty  of  expressing  the  will  of  their  constituents.  This  I 
should  consider  as  the  nearest  approach  to  a  pure  republic, 
which  is  practicable  on  a  large  scale  of  country  or  population. 
And  we  have  examples  of  it  in  some  of  our  State  constitutions, 
which,  if  not  poisoned  by  priest-craft,  would  prove  its  excellence 
over  all  mixtures  with  other  elements  ;  and,  with  only  equal 
doses  of  poison,  would  still  be  the  best.  Other  shades  of  re 
publicanism  may  be  found  in  other  forms  of  government,  where 
the  executive,  judiciary  and  legislative  functions,  and  the  differ 
ent  branches  of  the  latter,  are  chosen  by  the  people  more  or  less 
directly,  for  longer  terms  of  years  or  for  life,  or  made  hereditary  ; 
or  where  there  are  mixtures  of  authorities,  some  dependent  on, 
and  others  independent  of  the  people.  The  further  the  depart 
ure  from  direct  and  constant  control  by  the  citizens,  the  less  has 
the  government  of  the  ingredient  of  republicanism  ;  evidently 
none  where  the  authorities  are  hereditary,  as  in  France,  Venice, 
&c.,  or  self-chosen,  as  in  Holland ;  and  little,  where  for  life,  in 
proportion  as  the  life  continues  in  being  after  the  act  of  election. 
The  purest  republican  feature  in  the  government  of  our  own 
State,  is  the  House  of  Representatives.  The  Senate  is  equally  so 
the  first  year,  less  the  second,  and  so  on.  The  Executive  still 
less,  bemuse  not  chosen  by  the  people  directly.  The  Judiciary 
seriously  anti-republican,  because  for  life  ;  and  the  national  arm 
wielded,  as  you  observe,  by  military  leaders,  irresponsible  but  to 
themselves.  Add  to  this  the  vicious  constitution  of  our  county 
courts  (to  whom  the  justice,  the  executive  administration,  the 
taxation,  police,  the  military  appointments  of  the  county,  and 
nearly  all  our  daily  concerns  are  confided),  self-appointed,  self- 

30  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

continued,  holding  their  authorities  for  life,  and  with  an  impossi 
bility  of  breaking  in  on  the  perpetual  succession  of  any  faction 
once  possessed  of  the  bench.  They  are  in  truth,  the  executive, 
the  judiciary,  and  the  military  of  their  respective  counties,  and 
the  sum  of  the  counties  makes  the  State.  And  add,  also,  that  one 
half  of  our  brethren  who  fight  and  pay  taxes,  are  excluded,  like 
Helots,  from  the  rights  of  representation,  as  if  society  were  insti 
tuted  for  the  soil,  and  not  for  the  men  inhabiting  it ;  or  one  half 
of  these  could  dispose  of  the  rights  and  the  will  of  the  other  half, 
without  their  consent. 

"  What  constitutes  a  State  ? 
Not  high-raised  battlements,  or  labor'd  mound, 

Thick  wall,  or  moated  gate  ; 
Not  cities  proud,  with  spires  and  turrets  crown'd  ; 

No  :  men,  high  minded  men  ; 

Men,  who  their  duties  know  ; 
But  know  their  rights  ;  and  knowing,  dare  maintain. 

These  constitute  a  State." 

In  the  General  Government,  the  House  of  Representatives  is 
mainly  republican  ;  the  Senate  scarcely  so  at  all,  as  not  elected 
by  the  people  directly,  and  so  long  secured  even  against  those 
who  do  elect  them  ;  the  Executive  more  republican  than  the 
Senate,  from  its  shorter  term,  its  election  by  the  people,  in  prac 
tice,  (for  they  vote  for  A  only  on  an  assurance  that  he  will  vote  for 
B,)  and  because,  in  practice  also,  a  principle  of  rotation  seems  to 
be  in  a  course  of  establishment  ;  the  judiciary  independent  of 
the  nation,  their  coercion  by  impeachment  being  found  nugatory. 

If,  then,  the  control  of  the  people  over  the  organs  of  their 
government  be  the  measure  of  its  republicanism,  and  I  confess  I 
know  no  other  measure,  it  must  be  agreed  that  our  governments 
have  much  less  of  republicanism  than  ought  to  have  been  ex 
pected  ;  in  other  words,  that  the  people  have  less  regular  control 
over  their  agents,  than  their  rights  and  their  interests  require. 
And  this  I  ascribe,  not  to  any  want  of  republican  dispositions  in 
those  who  formed  these  constitutions,  but  to  a  submission  of  true 
principle  to  European  authorities,  to  speculators  on  government, 
whose  fears  of  the  people  have  been  inspired  by  the  populace  of 
their  own  great  cities,  and  were  unjustly  entertained  against  the 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  31 

independent,  the  happy,  and  therefore  orderly  citizens  'of  the 
United  States.  Much  I  apprehend  that  the  golden  moment  is 
past  for  reforming  these  heresies.  The  functionaries  of  public 
power  rarely  strengthen  in  their  dispositions  to  abridge  it,  and  an 
unorganized  call  for  timely  amendment  is  not  likely  to  prevail 
against  an  organized  opposition  to  it.  We  are  always  told  that 
things  are  going  on  well ;  why  change  them  ?  "  Chi  sta  bene, 
non  si  muove"  said  the  Italian,  " let  him  who  stands  well,  stand 
still."  This  is  true  ;  and  I  verily  believe  they  would  go  on  well 
with  us  under  an  absolute  monarch,  while  our  present  character 
remains,  of  order,  industry  and  love  of  peace,  and  restrained,  as 
he  would  be,  by  the  proper  spirit  of  the  people.  But  it  is  while 
it  remains  such,  we  should  provide  against  the  consequences  of  its 
deterioration.  And  let  us  rest  in  the  hope  that  it  will  yet  be  done, 
and  spare  ourselves  the  pain  of  evils  which  may  never  happen. 

On  this  view  of  the  import  of  the  term  republic,  instead  of  say 
ing,  as  has  been  said,  "  that  it  may  mean  anything  or  nothing," 
we  may  say  with  truth  and  meaning,  that  governments  are  more 
or  less  republican  as  they  have  more  or  less  of  the  element  of 
popular  election  and  control  in  their  composition  ;  and  believing, 
as  I  do,  that  the  mass  of  the  citizens  is  the  safest  depository  of 
their  own  rights,  and  especially,  that  the  evils  flowing  from  the 
duperies  of  the  people,  are  less  injurious  than  those  from  the 
egoism  of  their  agents,  I  am  a  friend  to  that  composition  of  gov 
ernment  which  has  in  it  the  most  of  this  ingredient.  And  I 
sincerely  believe,  with  you,  that  banking  establishments  are  more 
dangerous  than  standing  armies  ;  and  that  the  principle  of  spend 
ing  money  to  be  paid  by  posterity,  under  the  name  of  funding, 
is  but  swindling  futurity  on  a  large  scale. 

I  salute  you  with  constant  friendship  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  June  7,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  received  a  few  days  ago  from  Mr.  Dupont  the 
enclosed  manuscript,  with  permission  to  read  it,  and  a  request, 
when  read,  to  forward  it  to  you,  in  expectation  that  you  would 
translate  it.  It  is  well  worthy  of  publication  for  the  instruction 

32  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

of  our  citizens,  being  profound,  sound,  and  short.  Our  legisla 
tors  are  not  sufficiently  apprized  of  the  rightful  limits  of  their 
power  ;  that  their  true  office  is  to  declare  and  enforce  only  our 
natural  rights  and  duties,  and  to  take  none  of  them  from  us.  No 
man  has  a  natural  right  to  commit  aggression  on  the  equal  rights 
of  another  ;  and  this  is  all  from  which  the  laws  ought  to  restrain 
him  ;  every  man  is  under  the  natural  duty  of  contributing  to  the 
necessities  of  the  society  ;  and  this  is  all  the  laws  should  enforce 
on  him  ;  and,  no  man  having  a  natural  right  to  be  the  judge 
between  himself  and  another,  it  is  his  natural  duty  to  submit  to 
the  umpirage  of  an  impartial  third.  When  the  laws  have  de 
clared  and  enforced  all  this,  they  have  fulfilled  their  functions, 
and  the  idea  is  quite  unfounded,  that  on  entering  into  society  we 
give  up  any  natural  right.  The  trial  of  every  law  by  one  of 
these  texts,  would  lessen  much  the  labors  of  our  legislators,  and 
lighten  equally  our  municipal  codes.  There  is  a  work  of  the 
first  order  of  merit  now  in  the  press  at  Washington,  by  Destutt 
Tracy,  on  the  subject  of  political  economy,  which  he  brings  into 
the  compass  of  three  hundred  pages,  octavo.  In  a  preliminary 
discourse  on  the  origin  of  the  right  of  property,  he  coincides 
much  with  the  principles  of  the  present  manuscript  ;  but  is  more 
developed,  more  demonstrative.  He  promises  a  future  work  on 
morals,  in  which  I  lament  to  see  that  he  will  adopt  the  princi 
ples  of  Hobbes,  or  humiliation  to  human  nature  ;  that  the  sense 
of  justice  and  injustice  is  not  derived  from  our  natural  organ 
ization,  but  founded  on  convention  only.  I  lament  this  the 
more,  as  he  is  unquestionably  the  ablest  writer  living,  on  abstract 
subjects.  Assuming  the  fact,  that  the  earth  has  been  created  in 
time,  and  consequently  the  dogma  of  final  causes,  we  yield,  of 
course  to  this  short  syllogism.  Man  was  created  for  social 
intercourse  ;  but  social  intercourse  cannot  be  maintained  with 
out  a  sense  of  justice ;  then  man  must  have  been  created  with  a 
sense  of  justice.  There  is  an  error  into  which  most  of  the  specu 
lators  on  government  have  fallen,  and  which  the  well-known  state 
of  society  of  our  Indians  ought,  before  now,  to  have  corrected. 
In  their  hypothesis  of  the  origin  of  government,  they  suppose  it 
to  have  commenced  in  the  patriarchal  or  monarchical  form.  Our 
Indians  are  evidently  in  that  state  of  nature  which  has  passed 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  33 

the  association  of  a  single  family  ;  and  not  yet  submitted  to  the 
authority  of  positive  laws,  or  of  any  acknowledged  magistrate. 
Every  man,  with  them,  is  perfectly  free  to  follow  his  own  inclina 
tions.  But  if,  in  doing  this,  he  violates  the  rights  of  another, 
if  the  case  be  slight,  he  is  punished  by  the  disesteem  of  his  so 
ciety,  or,  as  we  say,  by  public  opinion ;  if  serious,  he  is  toma 
hawked  as  a  dangerous  enemy.  Their  leaders  conduct  them  by 
the  influence  of  their  character  only  ;  and  they  follow,  or  not, 
as  they  please,  him  of  whose  character  for  wisdom  or  war  they 
have  the  highest  opinion.  Hence  the  origin  of  the  parties 
among  them  adhering  to  different  leaders,  and  governed  by  their 
advice,  not  by  their  command.  The  Cherokees,  the  only  tribe 
I  know  to  be  contemplating  the  establishment  of  regular  laws, 
magistrates,  and  government,  propose  a  government  of  represen 
tatives,  elected  from  every  town.  But  of  all  things,  they  least 
think  of  subjecting  themselves  to  the  will  of  one  man.  This, 
the  only  instance  of  actual  fact  within  our  knowledge,  will  be  then 
a  beginning  by  republican,  and  not  by  patriarchal  or  monarchi 
cal  government,  as  speculative  writers  have  generally  conjectured. 
We  have  to  join  in  mutual  congratulations  on  the  appointment 
of  our  friend  Correa,  to  be  minister  or  envoy  of  Portugal,  here. 
This,  I  hope,  will  give  him  to  us  for  life.  Nor  will  it  at  all  inter 
fere  with  his  botanical  rambles  or  journeys.  The  government  of 
Portugal  is  so  peaceable  and  inoffensive,  that  it  has  never  any  al 
tercations  with  its  friends.  If  their  minister  abroad  writes  them 
once  a  quarter  that  all  is  well,  they  desire  no  more.  I  learn, 
(though  not  from  Correa  himself,)  that  he  thinks  of  paying  us  a 
visit  as  soon  as  he  is  through  his  course  of  lectures.  Not  to  lose 
this  happiness  again  by  my  absence,  I  have  informed  him  I  shall 
set  out  for  Poplar  Forest  the  20th  instant,  and  be  back  the  first 
week  of^uly.  I  wish  you  and  he  could  concert  your  movements 
so  as  to  meet  here,  and  that  you  would  make  this  your  head 
quarters.  It  is  a  good  central  point  from  which  to  visit  your  con 
nections  ;  and  you  know  our  practice  of  placing  our  guests  at 
their  ease,  by  showing  them  we  are  so  ourselves  and  that  we  fol 
low  our  necessary  vocations,  instead  of  fatiguing  them  by  hanging 
unremittingly  on  their  shoulders.  I  salute  you  with  affectionate 
esteem  and  respect. 

VOL.  X.— 3 

34  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 


MONTICELLO,  June  20,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  am  about  to  sin  against  all  discretion,  and  know 
ingly,  by  adding  to  the  drudgery  of  your  letter-reading,  this  ac 
knowledgment  of  the  receipt  of  your  favor  of  May  the  3ist,  with 
the  papers  it  covered.  I  cannot,  however,  deny  myself  the  grati 
fication  of  expressing  the  satisfaction  I  have  received,  not  only 
from  the  general  statement  of  affairs  at  Paris,  in  yours  of  Decem 
ber  the  i zth,  1814,  (as  a  matter  of  history  which  I  had  not  be 
fore  received,)  but  most  especially  and  superlatively,  from  the 
perusal  of  your  letter  of  the  8th  of  the  same  month  to  Mr.  Fisk, 
on  the  subject  of  draw-backs.  This  most  heterogeneous  prin 
ciple  was  transplanted  into  ours  from  the  British  system,  by  a 
man  whose  mind  was  really  powerful,  but  chained  by  native  par 
tialities  to  everything  English  ;  who  had  formed  exaggerated 
ideas  of  the  superior  perfection  of  the  English  constitution,  the 
superior  wisdom  of  their  government,  and  sincerely  believed  it 
for  the  good  of  this  country  to  make  them  their  model  in  every 
thing  ;  without  considering  that  what  might  be  wise  and  good 
for  a  nation  essentially  commercial,  and  entangled  in  complicated 
intercourse  with  numerous  and  powerful  neighbors,  might  not  be 
so  for  one  essentially  agricultural,  and  insulated  by  nature  from 
the  abusive  governments  of  the  old  world. 

The  exercise,  by  our  own  citizens,  of  so  much  commerce  as 
may  suffice  to  exchange  our  superfluities  for  our  wants,  may  be 
advantageous  for  the  whole.  But  it  does  not  follow,  that  with  a 
territory  so  boundless,  it  is  the  interest  of  the  whole  to  become  a 
mere  city  of  London,  to  carry  on  the  business  of  one  half  the 
world  at  the  expense  of  eternal  war  with  the  other  half.  The 
agricultural  capacities  of  our  country  constitute  its  distinguishing 
feature  ;  and  the  adapting  our  policy  and  pursuits  to  that,  is  more 
likely  to  make  us  a  numerous  and  happy  people,  than  the  mimicry 
of  an  Amsterdam,  a  Hamburgh,  or  a  city  of  London.  Every  so 
ciety  has  a  right  to  fix  the  fundamental  principles  of  its  association, 
and  to  say  to  all  individuals,  that,  if  they  contemplate  pursuits 
beyond  the  limits  of  these  principles,  and  involving  dangers 
which  the  society  chooses  to  avoid,  they  must  go  somewhere  else 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  35 

for  their  exercise  ;  that  we  want  no  citizens,  and  still  less  ephem 
eral  and  pseudo-citizens,  on  such  terms.  We  may  exclude  them 
from  our  territory,  as  we  do  persons  infected  with  disease.  Such 
is  the  situation  of  our  country.  We  have  most  abundant  re 
sources  of  happiness  within  ourselves,  which  we  may  enjoy  in 
peace  and  safety,  without  permitting  a  few  citizens,  infected  with 
the  mania  of  rambling  and  gambling,  to  bring  danger  on  the 
great  mass  engaged  in  innocent  and  safe  pursuits  at  home.  In 
your  letter  to  Fisk,  you  have  fairly  stated  the  alternatives  be 
tween  which  we  are  to  choose  :  i,  licentious  commerce  and 
gambling  speculations  for  a  few,  with  eternal  war  for  the  many  ; 
or,  2,  restricted  commerce,  peace,  and  steady  occupations  for  all. 
If  any  State  in  the  Union  will  declare  that  it  prefers  separation 
with  the  first  alternative,  to  a  continuance  in  union  without  it,  I 
have  no  hesitation  in  saying,  "  let  us  separate."  I  would  rather 
the  States  should  withdraw,  which  are  for  unlimited  commerce 
and  war,  and  confederate  with  those  alone  which  are  for  peace 
and  agriculture.  I  know  that  every  nation  in  Europe  would  join 
in  sincere  amity  with  the  latter,  and  hold  the  former  at  arm's 
length,  by  jealousies,  prohibitions,  restrictions,  vexations  and 
war.  No  earthly  consideration  could  induce  my  consent  to  con 
tract  such  a  debt  as  England  has  by  her  wars  for  commerce,  to 
reduce  our  citizens  by  taxes  to  such  wretchedness,  as  that  labor 
ing  sixteen  of  the  twenty-four  hours,  they  are  still  unable  to  af 
ford  themselves  bread,  or  barely  to  earn  as  much  oatmeal  or 
potatoes  as  will  keep  soul  and  body  together.  And  all  this  to 
feed  the  avidity  of  a  few  millionary  merchants,  and  to  keep  up 
one  thousand  ships  of  war  for  the  protection  of  their  commercial 
speculations.  I  returned  from  Europe  after  our  government  had 
got  under  way,  and  had  adopted  from  the  British  code  the  law 
of  draw-backs.  I  early  saw  its  effects  in  the  jealousies  and 
vexations  of  Britain  ;  and  that,  retaining  it,  we  must  become  like 
her  an  essentially  warring  nation,  and  meet,  in  the  end,  the  catas 
trophe  impending  over  her.  No  one  can  doubt  that  this  alone 
produced  the  orders  of  council,  the  depredations  which  preceded, 
and  the  war  which  followed  them.  Had  we  carried  but  our  own 
produce,  and  brought  back  but  our  own  wants,  no  nation  would 
have  troubled  us.  Our  commercial  dashers,  then,  have  already 

36  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

cost  us  so  many  thousand  lives,  so  many  millions  of  dollars,  more 
than  their  persons  and  all  their  commerce  were  worth.  When 
war  was  declared,  and  especially  after  Massachusetts,  who  had 
produced  it,  took  side  with  the  enemy  waging  it,  I  pressed  on 
some  confidential  friends  in  Congress  to  avail  us  of  the  happy  op 
portunity  of  repealing  the  draw-back  ;  and  I  do  rejoice  to  find 
that  you  are  in  that  sentiment.  You  are  young,  and  may  be  in 
the  way  of  bringing  it  into  effect.  Perhaps  time,  even  yet,  and 
change  of  tone,  (for  there  are  symptoms  of  that  in  Massachusetts,) 
may  not  have  obliterated  altogether  the  sense  of  our  late  feelings 
and  sufferings  ;  may  not  have  induced  oblivion  of  the  friends  we 
have  lost,  the  depredations  and  conflagrations  we  have  suffered, 
and  the  debts  we  have  incurred,  and  have  to  labor  for  through 
the  lives  of  the  present  generation.  The  earlier  the  repeal  is  pro 
posed,  the  more  it  will  be  befriended  by  all  these  recollections 
and  considerations.  This  is  one  of  three  great  measures  neces 
sary  to  insure  us  permanent  prosperity.  This  preserves  our 
peace.  A  second  should  enable  us  to  meet  any  war,  by  adopting 
the  report  of  the  war  department,  for  placing  the  force  of  the  na 
tion  at  effectual  command  ;  and  a  third  should  insure  resources 
of  money  by  the  suppression  of  all  paper  circulation  during  peace, 
and  licensing  that  of  the  nation  alone  during  war.  The  metallic 
medium  of  which  we  should  be  possessed  at  the  commencement 
of  a  war,  would  be  a  sufficient  fund  for  all  the  loans  we  should 
need  through  its  continuance  ;  and  if  the  national  bills  issued,  be 
bottomed  (as  is  indespensable)  on  pledges  of  specific  taxes  for 
their  redemption  within  certain  and  moderate  epochs,  and  be  of 
proper  denominations  for  circulation,  no  interest  on  them  would 
be  necessary  or  just,  because  they  would  answer  to  every  one  the 
purposes  of  the  metallic  money  withdrawn  and  replaced  by  them. 
But  possibly  these  may  be  the  dreams  of  an  old  man,  or  that 
the  occasions  of  realizing  them  may  have  passed  away  without 
return.  A  government  regulating  itself  by  what  is  wise  and  just 
for  the  many,  uninfluenced  by  the  local  and  selfish  views  of  the 
few  who  direct  their  affairs,  has  not  been  seen  perhaps,  on  earth. 
Or  if  it  existed,  for  a  moment,  at  the  birth  of  ours,  it  would  not 
be  easy  to  fix  the  term  of  its  continuance.  Still,  I  believe  it  does 
exist  here  in  a  greater  degree  than  anywhere  else  ;  and  for  its 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  37 

growth  and  continuance,  as  well  as  for  your  personal  health  and 
happiness,  I  offer  sincere  prayers,  with  the  homage  of  ray  respect 
and  esteem. 


MONTICELLO,  July  12,  i8i6. 

SIR, — I  duly  received  your  favor  of  June  the  13th,  with  the 
copy  of  the  letters  on  the  calling  a  convention,  on  which  you  are 
pleased  to  ask  my  opinion.  I  have  not  been  in  the  habit  of 
mysterious  reserve  on  any  subject,  nor  of  buttoning  up  my  opin 
ions  within  my  own  doublet.  On  the  contrary,  while  in  public 
service  especially,  I  thought  the  public  entitled  to  frankness,  and 
intimately  to  know  whom  they  employed.  But  I  am  now  re 
tired  :  I  resign  myself,  as  a  passenger,  with  confidence  to  those 
at  present  at  the  helm,  and  ask  but  for  rest,  peace  and  good  will. 
The  question  you  propose,  on  equal  representation,  has  become  a 
party  one,  in  which  I  wish  to  take  no  public  share.  Yet,  if  it  be 
asked  for  your  own  satisfaction  only,  and  not  to  be  quoted  before 
the  public,  I  have  no  motive  to  withhold  it,  and  the  less  from 
you,  as  it  coincides  with  your  own.  At  the  birth  of  our  repub 
lic,  I  committed  that  opinion  to  the  world,  in  the  draught  of  a 
constitution  annexed  to  the  "  Notes  on  Virginia,"  in  which  a  pro 
vision  was  inserted  for  a  representation  permanently  equal.  The 
infancy  of  the  subject  at  that  moment,  and  our  inexperience  of 
self-government,  occasioned  gross  departures  in  that  draught  from 
genuine  republican  canons.  In  truth,  the  abuses  of  monarchy 
had  so  much  filled  all  the  space  of  political  contemplation,  that 
we  imagVied  everything  republican  which  was  not  monarchy. 
We  had  not  yet  penetrated  to  the  mother  principle,  that  "  govern 
ments  are  republican  only  in  proportion  as  they  embody  the  will 
of  their  people,  and  execute  it."  Hence,  our  first  constitutions 
had  really  no  leading  principles  in  them.  But  experience  and 
reflection  have  but  more  and  more  confirmed  me  in  the  particular 
importance  of  the  equal  representation  then  proposed.  On  that 
point,  then,  I  am  entirely  in  sentiment  with  your  letters ;  and 
only  lament  that  a  copy-right  of  your  pamphlet  prevents  their 
appearance  in  the  newspapers,  where  alone  they  would  be  gen- 

38  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

erally  read,  and  produce  general  effect.  The  present  vacancy 
too,  of  other  matter,  would  give  them  place  in  every  paper,  and 
bring  the  question  home  to  every  man's  conscience. 

But  inequality  of  representation  in  both  Houses  of  our  legisla 
ture,  is  not  the  only  republican  heresy  in  this  first  essay  of  our 
revolutionary  patriots  at  forming  a  constitution.  For  let  it  be 
agreed  that  a  government  is  republican  in  proportion  as  every 
member  composing  it  has  his  equal  voice  in  the  direction  of  its 
concerns  (not  indeed  in  person,  which  would  be  impracticable 
beyond  the  limits  of  a  city,  or  small  township,  but)  by  represen 
tatives  chosen  by  himself,  and  responsible  to  him  at  short  periods, 
and  let  us  bring  to  the  test  of  this  canon  every  branch  of  our 

In  the  legislature,  the  House  of  Representatives  is  chosen  by 
less  than  half  the  people,  and  not  at  all  in  proportion  to  those 
who  do  choose.  The  Senate  are  still  more  disproportionate,  and 
for  long  terms  of  irresponsibility.  In  the  Executive,  the  Governor 
is  entirely  independent  of  the  choice  of  the  people,  and  of  their 
control ;  his  Council  equally  so,  and  at  best  but  a  fifth  wheel  to  a 
wagon.  In  the  Judiciary,  the  judges  of  the  highest  courts  are 
dependent  on  none  but  themselves.  In  England,  where  judges 
were  named  and  removable  at  the  will  of  an  hereditary  executive, 
from  which  branch  most  misrule  was  feared,  and  has  flowed,  it 
was  a  great  point  gained,  by  fixing  them  for  life,  to  make  them 
independent  of  that  executive.  But  in  a  government  founded  on 
the  public  will,  this  principle  operates  in  an  opposite  direction, 
and  against  that  will.  There,  too,  they  were  still  removable  on 
a  concurrence  of  the  executive  and  legislative  branches.  But  we 
have  made  them  independent  of  the  nation  itself.  They  are 
irremovable,  but  by  their  own  body,  for  any  depravities  of  con 
duct,  and  even  by  their  own  body  for  the  imbecilities  of  dotage. 
The  justices  of  the  inferior  courts  are  self-chosen,  are  for  life, 
and  perpetuate  their  own  body  in  succession  forever,  so  that  a 
faction  once  possessing  themselves  of  the  bench  of  a  county,  can 
never  be  broken  up,  but  hold  their  county  in  chains,  forever  indis 
soluble.  Yet  these  justices  are  the  real  executive  as  well  as  judi 
ciary,  in  all  our  minor  and  most  ordinary  concerns.  They  tax 
us  at  will ;  fill  the  office  of  sheriff,  the  most  important  of  all  the 

i8i6]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  39 

executive  officers  of  the  county  ;  name  nearly  all  our  military 
leaders,  which  leaders,  once  named,  are  removable  but  by  them 
selves.  The  juries,  our  judges  of  all  fact,  and  of  law  when  they 
choose  it,  are  not  selected  by  the  people,  nor  amenable  to  them. 
They  are  chosen  by  an  officer  named  by  the  court  and  executive. 
Chosen,  did  I  say  ?  Picked  up  by  the  sheriff  from  the  loungings 
of  the  court  yard,  after  everything  respectable  has  retired  from  it. 
Where  then  is  our  republicanism  to  be  found  ?  Not  in  our  con 
stitution  certainly,  but  merely  in  the  spirit  of  our  people.  That 
would  oblige  even  a  despot  to  govern  us  republicanly.  Owing 
to  this  spirit,  and  to  nothing  in  the  form  of  our  constitution,  all 
things  have  gone  well.  But  this  fact,  so  triumphantly  misquoted 
by  the  enemies  of  reformation,  is  not  the  fruit  of  our  constitution, 
but  has  prevailed  in  spite  of  it.  Our  functionaries  have  done 
well,  because  generally  honest  men.  If  any  were  not  so,  they 
feared  to  show  it. 

But  it  will  be  said,  it  is  easier  to  find  faults  than  to  amend 
them.  I  do  not  think  their  amendment  so  difficult  as  is  pre 
tended.  Only  lay  down  true  principles,  and  adhere  to  them  in 
flexibly.  Do  not  be  frightened  into  their  surrender  by  the  alarms 
of  the  timid,  or  the  croakings  of  wealth  against  the  ascendency 
of  the  people.  If  experience  be  called  for,  appeal  to  that  of  our 
fifteen  or  twenty  governments  for  forty  years,  and  show  me 
where  the  people  have  done  half  the  mischief  in  these  forty  years, 
that  a  single  despot  would  have  done  in  a  single  year ;  or  show 
half  the  riots  and  rebellions,  the  crimes  and  the  punishments, 
which  have  taken  place  in  any  single  nation,  under  kingly  gov 
ernment  during  the  same  period.  The  true  foundation  of  repub 
lican  government  is  the  equal  right  of  every  citizen,  in  his  person 
and  property,  and  in  their  management.  Try  by  this,  as  a  tally, 
every  provision  of  our  constitution,  and  see  if  it  hangs  directly  on 
the  will  of  the  people.  Reduce  your  legislature  to  a  convenient 
number  for  full,  but  orderly  discussion.  Let  every  man  who 
fights  or  pays,  exercise  his  just  and  equal  right  in  their  election. 
Submit  them  to  approbation  or  rejection  at  short  intervals.  Let 
the  executive  be  chosen  in  the  same  way,  and  for  the  same  term, 
by  those  whose  agent  he  is  to  be  ;  and  leave  no  screen  of  a  coun 
cil  behind  which  to  skulk  from  responsibility.  It  has  been  thought 

40  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

that  the  people  are  not  competent  electors  of  judges  learned  in 
the  law.  But  I  do  not  know  that  this  is  true,  and,  if  doubtful,  we 
should  follow  principle.  In  this,  as  in  many  other  elections, 
they  would  be  guided  by  reputation,  which  would  not  err  oftener, 
perhaps,  than  the  present  mode  of  appointment.  In  one  State 
of  the  Union,  at  least,  it  has  long  been  tried,  and  with  the  most 
satisfactory  success.  The  judges  of  Connecticut  have  been 
chosen  by  the  people  every  six  months,  for  nearly  two  centuries, 
and  I  believe  there  has  hardly  ever  been  an  instance  of  change  ; 
so  powerful  is  the  curb  of  incessant  responsibility.  If  prejudice, 
however,  derived  from  a  monarchichal  institution,  is  still  to  pre 
vail  against  the  vital  elective  principle  of  our  own,  and  if  the  ex 
isting  example  among  ourselves  of  periodical  election  of  judges 
by  the  people  be  still  mistrusted,  let  us  at  least  not  adopt  the 
evil,  and  reject  the  good,  of  the  English  precedent ;  let  us  retain 
amovability  on  the  concurrence  of  the  executive  and  legislative 
branches,  and  nomination  by  the  executive  alone.  Nomination 
to  office  is  an  executive  function.  To  give  it  to  the  legislature, 
as  we  do,  is  a  violation  of  the  principle  of  the  separation  of  powers. 
It  swerves  the  members  from  correctness,  by  temptations  to  in 
trigue  for  office  themselves,  and  to  a  corrupt  barter  of  votes  ;  and 
destroys  responsibility  by  dividing  it  among  a  multitude.  By 
leaving  nomination  in  its  proper  place,  among  executive  func 
tions,  the  principle  of  the  distribution  of  power  is  preserved,  and 
responsibility  weighs  with  its  heaviest  force  on  a  single  head. 

The  organization  of  our  county  administrations  may  be  thought 
more  difficult.  But  follow  principle,  and  the  knot  unties  itself. 
Divide  the  counties  into  wards  of  such  size  as  that  every  citizen 
can  attend,  when  called  on,  and  act  in  person.  Ascribe  to  them 
the  government  of  their  wards  in  all  things  relating  to  themselves 
exclusively.  A  justice,  chosen  by  themselves,  in  each,  a  con 
stable,  a  military  company,  a  patrol,  a  school,  the  care  of  their 
own  poor,  their  own  portion  of  the  public  roads,  the  choice  of 
one  or  more  jurors  to  serve  in  some  court,  and  the  delivery, 
within  their  own  wards,  of  their  own  votes  for  all  elective  officers 
of  higher  sphere,  will  relieve  the  county  administration  of  nearly 
all  its  business,  will  have  it  better  done,  and  by  making  every 
citizen  an  acting  member  of  the  government,  and  in  the  offices 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  41 

nearest  and  most  interesting  to  him,  will  attach  him  by  his  strong 
est  feelings  to  the  independence  of  his  country,  and  its  republican 
constitution.  The  justices  thus  chosen  by  every  ward,  would 
constitute  the  county  court,  would  do  its  judiciary  business,  di 
rect  roads  and  bridges,  levy  county  and  poor  rates,  and  administer 
all  the  matters  of  common  interest  to  the  whole  country.  These 
wards,  called  townships  in  New  England,  are  the  vital  principle 
of  their  governments,  and  have  proved  themselves  the  wisest  in 
vention  ever  devised  by  the  wit  of  man  for  the  perfect  exercise  of 
self-government,  and  for  its  preservation.  We  should  thus  mar 
shal  our  government  into,  i,  the  general  federal  republic,  for  all 
concerns  foreign  and  federal :  2,  that  of  the  State,  for  what  relates 
to  our  own  citizens  exclusively  ;  3,  the  county  republics,  for  the 
duties  and  concerns  of  the  county  ;  and  4,  the  ward  republics, 
for  the  small,  and  yet  numerous  and  interesting  concerns  of  the 
neighborhood  ;  and  in  government,  as  well  as  in  every  other  busi 
ness  of  life,  it  is  by  division  and  subdivison  of  duties  alone,  that 
all  matters,  great  and  small,  can  be  managed  to  perfection.  And 
the  whole  is  cemented  by  giving  to  every  citizen,  personally,  a 
part  in  the  administration  of  the  public  affairs. 

The  sum  of  these  amendments  is,  i.  General  Suffrage.  2. 
Equal  representation  in  the  legislature.  3.  An  executive  chosen 
by  the  people.  4.  Judges  elective  or  amovable.  5.  Justices, 
jurors,  and  sheriffs  elective.  6.  Ward  divisions.  And  7.  Peri 
odical  amendments  of  the  constitution. 

I  have  thrown  out  these  as  loose  heads  of  amendment,  for  con 
sideration  and  correction  ;  and  their  object  is  to  secure  self-gov 
ernment  c>y  the  republicanism  of  our  constitution,  as  well  as  by 
the  spirit  of  the  people  ;  and  to  nourish  and  perpetuate  that 
spirit.  I  am  not  among  those  who  fear  the  people.  They,  and 
not  the  rich,  are  our  dependence  for  continued  freedom.  And  to 
preserve  their  independence,  we  must  not  let  our  rulers  load  us 
with  perpetual  debt.  We  must  make  our  election  between  econ 
omy  and  liberty,  or  profusion  and  servitude.  If  we  run  into 
such  debts,  as  that  we  must  be  taxed  in  our  meat  and  in  our 
drink,  in  our  necessaries  and  our  comforts,  in  our  labors  and  our 
amusements,  for  our  callings  and  our  creeds,  as  the  people  of 
England  are,  our  people,  like  them,  must  come  to  labor  sixteen 

42  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

hours  in  the  twenty-four,  give  the  earnings  of  fifteen  of  these  to 
the  government  for  their  debts  and  daily  expenses  ;  and  the  six 
teenth  being  insufficient  to  afford  us  bread,  we  must  live,  as  they 
now  do,  on  oatmeal  and  potatoes  ;  have  no  time  to  think,  no 
means  of  calling  the  mismanagers  to  account ;  but  be  glad  to  ob 
tain  subsistence  by  hiring  ourselves  to  rivet  their  chains  on  the 
necks  of  our  fellow-sufferers.  Our  landholders,  too,  like  theirs,  re 
taining  indeed  the  title  and  stewardship  of  estates  called  theirs,  but 
held  really  in  trust  for  the  treasury,  must  wander,  like  theirs, 
in  foreign  countries,  and  be  contented  with  penury,  obscurity, 
exile,  and  the  glory  of  the  nation.  This  example  reads  to  us  the 
salutary  lesson,  that  private  fortunes  are  destroyed  by  public  as 
well  as  by  private  extravagance.  And  this  is  the  tendency  of  all 
human  governments.  A  departure  from  principle  in  one  instance 
becomes  a  precedent  for  a  second  ;  that  second  for  a  third  ; 
and  so  on,  till  the  bulk  of  the  society  is  reduced  to  be  mere  au 
tomatons  of  misery,  and  to  have  no  sensibilities  left  but  for  sin 
ning  and  suffering.  Then  begins,  indeed,  the  helium  omnium  in 
omnia,  which  some  philosophers  observing  to  be  so  general  in  this 
world,  have  mistaken  it  for  the  natural,  instead  of  the  abusive 
state  of  man.  And  the  fore  horse  of  this  frightful  team  is  public 
debt.  Taxation  follows  that,  and  in  its  train  wretchedness  and 

Some  men  look  at  constitutions  with  sanctimonious  reverence, 
and  deem  them  like  the  arc  of  the  covenant,  too  sacred  to  be 
touched.  They  ascribe  to  the  men  of  the  preceding  age  a  wisdom 
more  than  human,  and  suppose  what  they  did  to  be  beyond 
amendment.  I  knew  that  age  well  ;  I  belonged  to  it,  and  labored 
with  it.  It  deserved  well  of  its  country.  It  was  very  like  the 
present,  but  without  the  experience  of  the  present ;  and  forty 
years  of  experience  in  government  is  worth  a  century  of  book- 
reading  ;  and  this  they  would  say  themselves,  were  they  to  rise 
from  the  dead.  I  am  certainly  not  an  advocate  for  frequent  and 
untried  changes  in  laws  and  constitutions.  I  think  moderate  im 
perfections  had  better  be  borne  with  ;  because,  when  once  known, 
we  accommodate  ourselves  to  them,  and  find  practical  means  of 
correcting  their  ill  effects.  But  I  know  also,  that  laws  and  insti 
tutions  must  go  hand  in  hand  with  the  progress,  of  the  human 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  43 

mind.  As  that  becomes  more  developed,  more  enlightened,  as 
new  discoveries  are  made,  new  truths  disclosed,  and  manners  and 
opinions  change  with  the  change  of  circumstances,  institutions 
must  advance  also,  and  keep  pace  with  the  times.  We  might  as 
well  require  a  man  to  wear  still  the  coat  which  fitted  him  when  a 
boy,  as  civilized  society  to  remain  ever  under  the  regimen  of  their 
barbarous  ancestors.  It  is  this  preposterous  idea  which  has  lately 
deluged  Europe  in  blood.  Their  monarchs,  instead  of  wisely 
yielding  to  the  gradual  change  of  circumstances,  of  favoring  pro 
gressive  accommodation  to  progressive  improvement,  have  clung 
to  old  abuses,  entrenched  themselves  behind  steady  habits,  and 
obliged  their  subjects  to  seek  through  blood  and  violence  rash 
and  ruinous  innovations,  which,  had  they  been  referred  to  the 
peaceful  deliberations  and  collected  wisdom  of  the  nation,  would 
have  been  put  into  acceptable  and  salutary  forms.  Let  us  follow 
no  such  examples,  nor  weakly  believe  that  one  generation  is  not 
as  capable  as  another  of  taking  care  of  itself,  and  of  ordering  its 
own  affairs.  Let  us,  as  our  sister  States  have  done,  avail  our 
selves  of  our  reason  and  experience,  to  correct  the  crude  essays 
of  our  first  and  unexperienced,  although  wise,  virtuous,  and  well- 
meaning  councils.  And  lastly,  let  us  provide  in  our  constitution 
for  its  revision  at  stated  periods.  What  these  periods  should  be, 
nature  herself  indicates.  By  the  European  tables  of  mortality, 
of  the  adults  living  at  any  one  moment  of  time,  a  majority  will  be 
dead  in  about  nineteen  years.  At  the  end  of  that  period,  then,  a 
new  majority  is  come  into  place  ;  or,  in  other  words,  a  new  gener 
ation.  Each  generation  is  as  independent  as  the  one  preceding, 
as  that  was  of  all  which  had  gone  before.  It  has  then,  like  them, 
a  right  to  choose  for  itself  the  form  of  government  it  believes 
most  promotive  of  its  own  happiness  ;  consequently,  to  accommo 
date  to  the  circumstances  in  which  it  finds  itself,  that  received 
from  its  predecessors  ;  and  it  is  for  the  peace  and  good  of  man 
kind,  that  a  solemn  opportunity  of  doing  this  every  nineteen  or 
twenty  years,  should  be  provided  by  the  constitution  ;  so  that  it 
may  be  handed  on,  with  periodical  repairs,  from  generation  to 
generation,  to  the  ',-nd  of  time,  if  anything  human  can  so  long  en 
dure.  It  is  now  f  jrty  years  since  the  constitution  of  Virginia  was 
formed.  The  sa.Tie  tables  inform  us,  that,  within  that  period, 

44  THE   WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

two-thirds  of  the  adults  then  living  are  now  dead.  Have  then 
the  remaining  third,  even  if  they  had  the  wish,  the  right  to  hold 
in  obedience  to  their  will,  and  to  laws  heretofore  made  by  them, 
the  other  two-thirds,  who,  with  themselves,  compose  the  present 
mass  of  adults  ?  If  they  have  not,  who  has  ?  The  dead  ?  But 
the  dead  have  no  rights.  They  are  nothing  ;  and  nothing  cannot 
own  something.  Where  there  is  no  substance,  there  can  be  no 
accident.  This  corporeal  globe,  and  everything  upon  it,  belong 
to  its  present  corporeal  inhabitants,  during  their  generation. 
They  alone  have  a  right  to  direct  what  is  the  concern  of  them 
selves  alone,  and  to  declare  the  law  of  that  direction  ;  and  this 
declaration  can  only  be  made  by  their  majority.  That  majority, 
then,  has  a  right  to  depute  representatives  to  a  convention,  and  to 
make  the  constitution  what  they  think  will  be  the  best  for  them 
selves.  But  how  collect  their  voice  ?  This  is  the  real  difficulty. 
If  invited  by  private  authority,  or  county  or  district  meetings, 
these  divisions  are  so  large  that  few  will  attend  ;  and  their  voice 
will  be  imperfectly,  or  falsely  pronounced.  Here,  then,  would  be 
one  of  the  advantages  of  the  ward  divisions  I  have  proposed. 
The  mayor  of  every  ward,  on  a  question  like  the  present,  would 
call  his  ward  together,  take  the  simple  yea  or  nay  of  its  members, 
convey  these  to  the  county  court,  who  would  hand  on  those  of  all 
its  wards  to  the  proper  general  authority  ;  and  the  voice  of  the 
whole  people  would  be  thus  fairly,  fully,  and  peaceably  expressed, 
discussed,  and  decided  by  the  common  reason  of  the  society.  If 
this  avenue  be  shut  to  the  call  of  sufferance,  it  will  make  itself 
heard  through  that  of  force,  and  we  shall  go  on,  as  other  nations 
are  doing,  in  the  endless  circle  of  oppression,  rebellion,  reforma 
tion  ;  and  oppression,  rebellion,  reformation,  again  ;  and  so  on 

These,  Sir,  are  my  opinions  of  the  governments  we  see  among 
men,  and  of  the  principles  by  which  alone  we  may  prevent  our 
own  from  falling  into  the  same  dreadful  track.  I  have  given 
them  at  greater  length  than  your  letter  called  for.  But  I  cannot 
say  things  by  halves  ;  and  I  confide  them  to  your  honor,  so  to 
use  them  as  to  preserve  me  from  the  gridiron  c  f  the  public  papers. 
If  you  shall  approve  and  enforce  them,  as  you  have  done  that  of 
equal  representation,  they  may  do  some  good.  If  not,  keep  them 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  45 

to  yourself  as  the  effusions  of  withered  age  and  useless  time.  I 
shall,  with  not  the  less  truth,  assure  you  of  my  great  respect  and 

1  On  this  same  subject  Jefferson  wrote  to  Kercheval  the  following  two 
letters : 

MONTICELLO,  September  5,  1816. 

SIR, — Your  letter  of  August  the  i6th  is  just  received.  That  which  I  wrote  to 
you  under  the  address  of  H.  Tompkinson,  was  intended  for  the  author  of  the 
pamphlet  you  were  so  kind  as  to  send  me,  and  therefore,  in  your  hands,  found 
its  true  destination.  But  I  must  beseech  you,  Sir,  not  to  admit  a  possibility  of 
its  being  published.  Many  good  people  will  revolt  from  its  doctrines,  and  my 
wish  is  to  offend  nobody  ;  to  leave  to  those  who  are  to  live  under  it,  the  settle 
ment  of  their  own  constitution,  and  to  pass  in  peace  the  remainder  of  my  time. 
If  those  opinions  are  sound,  they  will  occur  to  others,  and  will  prevail  by  their 
own  weight,  without  the  aid  of  names.  I  am  glad  to  see  that  the  Staunton 
meeting  has  rejected  the  idea  of  a  limited  convention.  The  article,  however, 
nearest  my  heart,  is  the  division  of  counties  into  wards.  These  will  be  pure 
and  elementary  republics,  the  sum  of  all  which,  taken  together,  composes  the 
State,  and  will  make  of  the  whole  a  true  democracy  as  to  the  business  of  the 
wards,  which  is  that  of  nearest  and  daily  concern.  The  affairs  of  the  larger 
sections,  of  counties,  of  States,  and  of  the  Union,  not  admitting  personal  trans 
action  by  the  people,  will  be  delegated  to  agents  elected  by  themselves  ;  and 
representation  will  thus  be  substituted,  where  personal  action  becomes  imprac 
ticable.  Yet,  even  over  these  representative  organs,  should  they  become  cor 
rupt  and  perverted,  the  division  into  wards  constituting  the  people,  in  their 
wards,  a  regularly  organized  power,  enables  them  by  that  organization  to 
crush,  regularly  and  peaceably,  the  usurpations  of  their  unfaithful  agents,  and 
rescues  them  from  the  dreadful  necessity  of  doing  it  insurrectionally.  In  this 
way  we  shall  be  as  republican  as  a  large  society  can  be  ;  and  secure  the  contin 
uance  of  purity  in  our  government,  by  the  salutary,  peaceable,  and  regular  con 
trol  of  the  people.  No  other  depositories  of  power  have  ever  yet  been  found, 
which  did  no*  end  in  converting  to  their  own  profit  the  earnings  of  those  com 
mitted  to  their  charge.  George  the  III.  in  execution  of  the  trust  confided  to 
him,  has,  within  his  own  day,  loaded  the  inhabitants  of  Great  Britain  with 
debts  equal  to  the  whole  fee-simple  value  of  their  island,  and  under  pretext  of 
governing  it,  has  alienated  its  whole  soil  to  creditors  who  could  lend  money  to 
be  lavished  on  priests,  pensions,  plunder  and  perpetual  war.  This  would  not 
have  been  so,  had  the  people  retained  organized  means  of  acting  on  their 
agents.  In  this  example,  then,  let  us  read  a  lesson  for  ourselves,  and  not  "go 
and  do  likewise." 

Since  writing  my  letter  of  July  the  I2th,  I  have  been  told,  that  on  the  ques 
tion  of  equal  representation,  our  fellow  citizens  in  some  sections  of  the  State 
claim  peremptorily  a  right  of  representation  for  their  slaves.  Principle  will,  in 
this,  as  in  most  other  cases,  open  the  way  for  us  to  correct  conclusion.  Were 

46  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 


MONTICELLO,  July  18,  16. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  letter  of  Mar.  20.  &  Apr.  15.  are  both  re 
ceived.  The  former  only  a  week  ago.  They  brought  me  the  first 
information  of  the  death  of  my  antient  friend  Mazzei,  which  I  learn 
with  sincere  regret.  He  had  some  peculiarities,  &  who  of  us  has 
not  ?  But  he  was  of  solid  worth  ;  honest,  able,  zealous  in  sound 
principles  Moral  &  political,  constant  in  friendship,  and  punctual 
in  all  his  undertakings.  He  was  greatly  esteemed  in  this  country, 
and  some  one  has  inserted  in  our  papers  an  account  of  his  death, 
with  a  handsome  and  just  eulogy  of  him,  and  a  proposition  to  pub 
lish  his  life  in  one  8vo.  volume.  I  have  no  doubt  but  that  what  he 
has  written  of  himself  during  the  portion  of  the  revolutionary 

our  State  a  pure  democracy,  in  which  all  its  inhabitants  should  meet  together 
to  transact  all  their  business,  there  would  yet  be  excluded  from  their  delibera 
tions,  I,  infants,  until  arrived  at  years  of  discretion.  2.  Women,  who,  to  pre 
vent  depravation  of  morals  and  ambiguity  of  issue,  could  not  mix  promiscuously 
in  the  public  meetings  of  men.  3.  Slaves,  from  whom  the  unfortunate  state  of 
things  with  us  takes  away  the  right  of  will  and  of  property.  Those  then  who 
have  no  will  could  be  permitted  to  exercise  none  in  the  popular  assembly  ;  and 
of  course,  could  delegate  none  to  an  agent  in  a  representative  assembly.  The 
business,  in  the  first  case,  would  be  done  by  qualified  citizens  only.  It  is  true, 
that  in  the  general  constitution,  our  State  is  allowed  a  larger  representation  on 
account  of  its  slaves.  But  every  one  knows,  that  that  constitution  was  a  matter 
of  compromise  ;  a  capitulation  between  conflicting  interests  and  opinions.  In 
truth,  the  condition  of  different  descriptions  of  inhabitants  in  any  country  is  a 
matter  of  municipal  arrangement,  of  which  no  foreign  country  has  a  right  to 
take  notice.  All  its  inhabitants  are  men  as  to  them.  Thus,  in  the  New  Eng 
land  States,  none  have  the  powers  of  citizens  but  those  whom  they  call  free 
men  ;  and  none  are  freemen  until  admitted  by  a  vote  of  the  freemen  of  the 
town.  Yet,  in  the  General  Goverment,  these  non-freemen  are  counted  in  their 
quantum  of  representation  and  of  taxation.  So,  slaves  with  us  have  no  powers 
as  citizens  ;  yet,  in  representation  in  the  General  Government,  they  count  in  the 
proportion  of  three  to  five  ;  and  so  also  in  taxation.  Whether  this  is  equal,  is 
not  here  the  question.  It  is  a  capitulation  of  discordant  sentiments  and  circum 
stances,  and  is  obligatory  on  that  ground.  But  this  view  shows  there  is  no  in 
consistency  in  claiming  representation  for  them  for  the  other  States,  and  refusing 
it  within  our  own.  Accept  the  renewal  of  assurances  of  my  respect. 

0  MONTICELLO,  Oct.  8,  16. 

SIR, — A  friend  in  your  part  of  the  country  informs  me  that  he  has  seen,  in 
pretty  free  circulation,  a  letter  from  me  to  yourself  on  the  subject  of  a  Con- 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  47 

period  he  passed  with  us,  would  furnish  some  good  material  for 
our  history  of  which  there  is  already  a  wonderful  scarcity.  But 
where  this  undertaker  of  his  history  is  to  get  his  materials,  I  know 
not,  nor  who  he  is. 

I  have  received  Mr.  Carmigniani's  letter  requesting  the  remit 
tance  of  his  money  in  my  hands.  How  and  when  this  can  be 
done  I  have  written  him  in  the  inclosed  letter,  which  I  leave  open 
for  your  perusal ;  after  which  be  so  good  as  to  stick  a  wafer  in  it, 
&  have  it  delivered.  I  had  just  begun  a  letter  to  Mazzei,  ex 
cusing  to  him  the  non-remittance  the  present  year,  as  requested 
thro'  you  by  his  family.  And  I  should  have  stated  to  him  with 
good  faith,  that  the  war-taxes  of  the  last  year,  almost  equal  to  the 
amount  of  our  whole  income,  and  a  season  among  the  most  un 
favorable  to  agriculture  ever  known  made  it  a  year  of  war  as  to 
it's  pressure,  &  obliged  me  to  postpone  the  commencement  of  the 
annual  remittances  until  the  ensuing  spring.  The  receipt  of  your 

vention,  that  it  was  in  the  hands  of  a  printer,  that  he  had  heard  several  speak 
of  having  seen  it,  and  the  idea  was  that  it  was  refused  to  none  who  asked  for  it. 
I  cannot  but  be  alarmed  at  this  information.  My  letter  of  July  12.  was  ex 
pressly  confided  to  your  honor,  to  be  so  used  as  to  be  kept  from  the  public 
papers  ;  and  that  of  Sep.  5.  further  pressed  my  request  that  you  would  not  ad 
mit  it  a  possibilty  of  it 's  being  published.  I  did  expect  and  had  no  objections, 
that  you  should  be  at  liberty  to  communicate  it 's  contents  to  particular  friends 
in  whom  you  had  confidence  ;  but  not  that  you  would  permit  it  to  go  out  of 
your  own  hands,  still  less  into  those  of  a  printer,  to  be  shewn  to  every  one, 
perhaps  to  be  copied  and  finally  published.  I  must,  Sir,  reiterate  my  prayers 
to  you  to  recall  the  original,  and  the  copies,  if  any  have  been  taken.  The 
question  of  a  Convention  is  become  a  party  one  with  which  I  shall  not  inter 
meddle.  I  am  willing  to  live  under  the  constitution,  as  it  is,  if  a  majority  of 
my  fellow- citizens  prefer  it ;  altho'  I  think  it  might  be  made  better,  and,  for 
the  sake  of  "uture  generations  (when  principles  shall  have  become  too  relaxed 
to  permit  amendment,  as  experience  proves  to  be  the  constant  course  of  things) 
I  wished  to  have  availed  them  of  the  virtues  of  the  present  time  to  put  into  a 
chaste  &  secure  form,  the  government  to  be  handed  down  to  them.  But  I  re 
peat  that  if  a  majority  of  my  fellow-citizens  are  contented  with  what  will  last 
their  time,  I  am  so  also,  and  with  the  more  reason  as  mine  is  nearly  out.  I 
again  throw  the  quiet  of  my  life  on  your  honor,  and  repeat  the  assurances  of 
my  respect. 

P.S.  On  revisal  of  my  letter  of  Sep.  5.  I  discover  an  error  which  be  pleased 
to  correct  with  the  pen,  by  striking  out  of  the  5th  line  from  the  close,  the  words 
'  as  5  '  and  inserting  '  so  also.' 

48  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

letter,  and  of  Mr.  Carmigniani's  only  rendered  it  necessary  to 
change  the  address  of  mine.  The  sale  was  made  during  the  war, 
when  the  remittance  of  the  price  was  impossible  :  nor  was  there 
here  any  depot  for  it  at  that  time  which  would  have  been  safe, 
profitable,  and  ready  to  repay  the  principal  on  demand.  I  re 
tained  it  therefore  myself  to  avoid  the  risk  of  the  banks,  to  yield 
the  profit  the  treasury  could  have  given,  and  to  admit  a  command 
of  the  principal  at  a  shorter  term.  It  was  of  course,  therefore 
that  I  must  invest  it  in  some  way  to  countervail  the  interest,  and 
being  but  a  farmer  receiving  rents  and  profits  but  once  a  year,  it 
will  take  time  to  restore  it  to  the  form  of  money  again,  which  I 
explained  to  Mr.  Mazzei  in  the  letter  I  wrote  to  him  at  the  time. 
Exchange  is  much  against  us  at  present,  owing  to  the  immense 
importations  made  immediately  after  peace,  and  to  the  redundancy 
of  our  paper  medium.  The  legislatures  have  generally  required 
the  banks  to  call  in  this  redundancy.  They  are  accordingly  cur 
tailing  discounts,  &  collecting  their  debts,  so  that  by  the  spring, 
when  the  first  remittance  will  be  made,  our  medium  will  be  greatly 
reduced,  and  it's  value  increased  proportionably.  The  crop  of 
this  year  too,  when  exported  will  so  far  lessen  the  foreign  debt  & 
the  demand  for  bills  of  exchange.  These  circumstances  taken 
together  promise  a  good  reduction  in  the  rate  of  exchange,  which 
you  can  more  fully  explain  in  conversation  to  Mr.  Carmigniani. 

I  am  happy  to  inform  you  that  the  administrator  of  Mr.  Bel 
lini  has  at  length  settled  his  account,  and  deposited  the  balance 
635.  Dollars  48  cents  in  the  bank  of  Virginia,  at  Richmond.  I 
think  it  the  safest  bank  in  the  U.  S.  and  it  has  been  for  some 
time  so  prudently  preparing  itself  for  cash  payments,  as  to  inspire 
a  good  degree  of  confidence,  &  moreover  I  shall  keep  my  eye  on 
it,  but  the  money  while  there  bears  no  interest  ;  and  I  did  not 
chuse  to  take  it  myself  on  interest  reimbursable  on  demand.  It 
would  be  well  then  that  Mr.  Fancelli  should  withdraw  it  as  soon 
as  he  can  ;  his  draught  on  me  shall  be  answered  at  sight  to  the 
holder,  by  one  on  the  bank.  In  the  present  state  of  our  exchange, 
&  the  really  critical  standing  of  our  merchants  at  this  time,  I  have 
been  afraid  to  undertake  it's  remittance,  because  it  could  only  be 
done  by  a  bill  of  some  merchant  here  on  his  correspondent  in 
England,  and  both  places  are  at  this  time  a  little  suspicious.  I 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  49 

know  nothing  so  deplorable  as  the  present  condition  of  the 
inhabitants  of  Europe  and  do  not  wonder  therefore  at  their 
desire  to  come  to  this  country.  Laborers  in  any  of  the  arts 
would  find  abundant  employ  in  this  state  at  100.  D.  a  year  &  their 
board  and  lodging.  And  indeed  if  a  sober  good  humored  man 
understanding  the  vineyard  &  kitchen  garden  would  come  to  me 
on  those  terms,  bound  to  serve  4.  years,  I  would  advance  his  pas 
sage  on  his  arrival,  setting  it  off  against  his  subsequent  wages. 
But  he  must  come  to  the  port  of  Norfolk  or  Richmond,  &  no 
where  else.  If  such  a  one  should  occur  to  you,  you  would  oblige 
me  by  sending  him.  I  remark  the  temporary  difficulty  you 
mention  of  obtaining  good  Montepulciano,  and  prefer  waiting  for 
that,  when  to  be  had,  to  a  quicker  supply  of  any  other  kind  which 
might  not  so  certainly  suit  our  taste.  It  might  not  be  amiss 
perhaps  to  substitute  a  bottle  or  two  as  samples  of  any  other 
wines  which  would  bear  the  voyage,  and  be  of  a  quality  and  price 
to  recommend  them.  You  know  we  like  dry  wines,  or  at  any  rate 
not  more  than  sillery.  I  salute  you  with  constant  friendship  and 

1  On  the  subject  of  this  business  matter  Jefferson  further  wrote  to  Giovanni 

MONTICELLO  IN  VIRGINIA,  July  l8,   1816. 

SIR, — Within  these  few  days  I  have  received  your  favor  of  April  7,  with 
certificates  of  the  death  of  my  estimable  friend  Philip  Mazzei,  and  a  copy  of 
his  Will.  I  learn  this  event  with  great  affliction,  altho'  his  advanced  age  had 
given  reason  to  apprehend  it.  An  intimacy  of  40.  years  had  proved  to  me  his 
great  worth,  and  a  friendship  which  had  begun  in  personal  acquaintance,  was 
maintained  after  separation,  without  abatement  by  a  constant  interchange  of 
letters.  His  esteem  too  in  this  country  was  very  general ;  his  early  &  zealous 
cooperation  in  the  establishment  of  our  independance  having  acquired  for  him 
here  a  great  degree  of  favor. 

Having  left  under  my  care  the  property  which  he  had  not  been  able  to  dis 
pose  of  and  to  carry  with  him  to  Europe,  it  is  some  years  since  I  had  been  able 
to  settle  all  his  affairs  here,  and  to  have  the  whole  proceeds  remitted  to  him, 
except  for  his  house  and  lot  in  Richmond.  This  being  in  the  possession  of 
another,  a  course  of  law  became  necessary  to  recover  it,  and  after  the  recovery, 
it  was  sometime  before  it  could  be  disposed  of  at  a  reasonable  price.  Very 
favourable  circumstances  however  occurring  at  length,  I  was  enabled  to  get  for 
it  a  sum  very  far  beyond  what  had  ever  been  expected  or  asked.  This  was  in 
the  time  of  our  late  war  with  England  while  a  close  blockade  of  our  harbors  cut 
off  all  commercial  intercourse  with  Europe,  and  rendered  a  remittance  of  the 

VOL.  X. — 4 

50  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 


MONTICELLO,  July  21.  16. 

DEAR  SIR, — Yours  of  the  loth  is  received,  and  I  have  to  ac- 
knolege  a  copious  supply  of  the  turnip  seed  requested.  Besides 
taking  care  myself,  I  shall  endeavour  again  to  commit  it  to  the 
depository  of  the  neighborhood,  generally  found  to  be  the  best 
precaution  against  losing  a  good  thing.  *  *  *  I  will  add  a 

price  impossible.  The  question  then  arose  what  could  be  done  with  the  money  ? 
Our  banks,  which  had  been  heretofore  considered  as  safe  depositories  of 
money,  had  excited  alarm  as  to  their  solvability  by  the  profuse  emission  of  their 
notes  ;  and  in  fact  they  declared,  soon  after,  their  inability  to  pay  their  notes, 
in  which  condition  they  still  continue  ;  and  could  they  have  been  trusted  with 
the  money,  no  interest  would  have  been  allowed  by  them.  It  might  have 
been  lent  to  the  government,  who  would  have  paid  an  interest  ;  but  then  the 
principal  could  not  have  been  demanded  under  15.  or  20  years,  the  terms  of 
their  loans.  I  concluded  therefore  to  retain  it  myself,  at  our  legal  interest  of  6. 
per  cent  per  annum  as  the  only  means  of  avoiding  the  risk  of  the  banks,  of 
yielding  the  profit  which  the  treasury  offered,  with  the  command  of  the 
principal  at  a  shorter  period.  But  to  indemnify  myself  for  the  interest  I  should 
have  to  pay,  it  was  necessary  I  should  invest  it  in  some  profitable  course  ;  and 
to  restore  it  again  to  the  form  of  money,  would  require  some  time  after  the 
close  of  the  war.  I  explained  this  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  Mazzei,  and  then  supposed 
it  might  be  done  at  two  or  three  annual  instalments,  counting  from  the  close  of 
the  war.  Altho*  the  cessation  of  hostilities  took  place  in  spring  of  the  last  year, 
yet  the  war  contributions  continued  thro  the  year,  aggravated  by  the  most 
calamitous  season  for  agriculture  almost  ever  known.  Our  term  of  peace  then 
really  began  with  the  present  year.  I  was  about  informing  Mr.  Mazzei  that, 
counting  from  that  period,  the  principal  and  interest  should  be  remitted  him  in 
three  annual  instalments,  when  I  received  the  information  of  his  death.  I  had 
been  led  to  propose  to  him  this  delay  the  less  unwillingly,  as  I  had  received 
from  his  family,  thro*  Mr.  Appleton,  a  request  not  to  remit  the  principal,  which 
they  feared  he  would  dispose  of  to  loss. 

I  have  thought  this  much  necessary,  Sir,  to  explain  to  you  the  present  state  of 
this  fund,  and  the  reasons  why  it  cannot  be  remitted  but  by  successive  instal 
ments.  A  third  with  it's  interest  shall  be  paid  the  ensuing  spring,  and  the 
remainder  in  equal  portions  the  two  springs  following  that.  The  channel  of 
remittance  must  depend  on  the  circumstances  of  the  time.  The  exchange  with 
London  at  present  is  much  against  us.  But  the  calls  of  the  banks  on  their 
debtors,  now  rapidly  going  on,  by  reducing  the  redundance,  of  our  medium,  and 
the  produce  of  agriculture  this  year,  which  as  an  article  of  remittance,  will 
lessen  the  demand,  &  consequently  the  price  of  bills  of  exchange,  will  probably 
produce,  by  the  next  spring,  a  more  favorable  state  of  exchange  for  the  first  re- 

i8i6]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  51 

word  on  the  political  part  of  our  letters.  I  believe  we  do  not 
differ  on  either  of  the  points  you  suppose  :  on  education  cer 
tainly  not  :  of  which  the  proofs  are  my  bill  "  for  the  diffusion  of 
knolege,"  prepared  near  40.  years  ago  ;  and  my  uniform  endeav 
our  to  this  day  to  get  our  counties  divided  into  wards,  one  of  the 
principal  objects  of  which  is  the  establishment  of  a  primary 
school  in  each.  But  education  not  being  a  branch  of  municipal 

mittance.  In  the  meantime  I  shall  receive  &  execute  with  pleasure  &  punctu 
ality  any  instructions  you  may  think  proper  to  give  me  as  to  the  channel  and 
mode  of  remittance  :  and,  receiving  none,  I  will  certainly  do  the  best  I  can  for 
the  benefit  of  Mr.  Mazzei's  family,  to  whom  I  will  render  every  service  in  my 
power  with  the  same  zeal  I  would  have  done  for  my  deceased  friend,  of  which 
I  pray  you  to  give  them  assurance  with  the  homage  of  my  great  respect,  and  to 
accept  yourself  the  tender  of  my  high  consideration. 
A  year  later  Jefferson  wrote  to  Appleton  as  follows: 

MONTICELLO,  Aug.  I.   17. 

DEAR  SIR, — My  last  to  you  was  of  July  18.  16.  since  which  I  have  received 
yours  of  May  15.  and  30.  July  30.  Sep.  27  &  Oct.  20.  of  the  same  year,  &  Mar. 
5.  of  the  present,  with  the  seed  of  the  Lupinella.  This  came  to  hand  too  late 
to  be  sown  this  season,  and  is  therefore  reserved  for  the  ensuing  spring.  Mr. 
Madison  received  what  you  sent  him  somewhat  earlier,  &  sowed  a  little  (not 
chusing  to  venture  the  whole).  I  am  recently  returned  from  a  visit  to  him  and 
saw  the  plants  just  come  up.  From  their  appearance  we  judged  them  to  be  a 
species  of  Saintfoin.  The  next  year  however  I  shall  sow  the  whole  of  mine, 
and  be  able  to  judge  of  it. 

In  my  letter  to  you  of  July  18.  and  one  of  the  same  date  to  Mr.  Carmigniani, 
on  the  subject  of  Mr.  Mazzei's  funds  I  explained  the  situation  of  this  country, 
which,  after  being  shut  up  from  all  means  of  disposing  of  its  produce  during  a 
war  of  3.  years,  had  experienced  seasons  the  most  adverse  to  agriculture  which 
had  ever  been  known.  At  that  moment  also  appearances  were  unfavorable  for 
the  year  then  current  ;  but  in  the  hope  it  might  change  for  the  better,  I  ven 
tured  to  promise  myself  and  Mr.  Carmigniani  that  a  commencement  of  remit 
tance  of  principal  and  interest  should  be  made  in  the  present  year.  But  the 
drought  which  was  prevailing  at  the  date  of  my  letter,  continued  thro  the  whole 
season  of  the  growth  of  our  crops,  and  produced  a  failure  in  them  much  greater 
than  in  the  preceding  year  ;  insomuch  that  there  has  been  the  greatest  distress 
for  bread,  which  has  sold  generally  at  5.  times  its  usual  price.  Few  farmers 
have  made  enough  of  other  things  to  pay  for  their  bread  ;  and  the  present  year 
has  been  equally  afflicting  for  their  crop  of  wheat,  by  such  an  inundation  of 
Hessian  fly  as  was  never  seen  before.  A  great  part  of  my  own  crop  has  not 
yielded  seed.  Whole  fields  did  not  give  an  ear  for  every  square  foot ;  &  many 
turned  their  cattle  on  their  wheat  to  make  something  of  it  as  pasture.  After 

52  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

government,  but,  like  the  other  arts  and  sciences,  an  accident 
only,  I  did  not  place  it  with  election,  as  a  fundamental  member 
in  the  structure  of  government.  *  *  *  Nor,  I  believe,  do  we 
differ  as  to  the  county  courts.  I  acknolege  the  value  of  this  in 
stitution,  that  it  is  in  truth  our  principal  Executive  &  Judiciary, 
and  that  it  does  much  for  little  pecuniary  reward.  It  is  their  self- 
appointment  I  wish  to  correct,  to  find  some  means  of  breaking  up 

such  a  disaster  the  last  year,  and  so  gloomy  a  prospect  for  the  present,  follow 
ing  the  distresses  of  the  war,  our  farmers  are  scarcely  able  to  meet  the  indis 
pensable  expences  of  taxes,  culture  &  food  for  their  families  and  labourers. 
Under  such  difficulties  &  prospects,  I  have  not  only  been  unable  to  make  the 
remittance  I  had  promised  to  Mr.  Carmigniani,  of  the  first  portion  of  principal 
and  interest,  but  am  really  afraid  to  promise  it  for  the  next,  such  are  the  pros 
pects  of  the  present  season  ;  and  unwilling  by  renewed  and  precise  engagements 
to  hazard  renewed  breaches  of  them  I  am  constrained  to  sollicit  the  consent  of 
the  family  to  let  the  money  lie  awhile  in  my  hands,  and  to  receive  remittances 
of  it  in  portions  as  I  can  make  them.  They  may  be  assured  they  shall  be  made 
as  soon  and  as  fast  as  would  be  in  my  power,  were  I  to  engage  for  specific 
sums  and  dates.  The  interest  I  solemnly  engage  to  send  them  annually,  and 
about  this  season  of  the  year.  I  am  in  hopes  that  the  punctual  receipt  of  the 
interest  from  hence  will  be  the  same  to  them,  as  if  received  from  a  depository 
there,  while  it  will  be  a  kind  accommodation  to  me  ;  and  I  hope  it  the  more  as 
this  is  really  money  which  I  recovered  out  of  the  fire  for  them,  by  lawsuits  & 
persevering  efforts,  &  which  I  am  certain  Mr.  Mazzei,  no  more  than  myself 
had  never  hoped  to  obtain.  With  respect  to  the  ultimate  safety  of  the  princi 
pal  in  my  hands,  any  person  from  this  state  can  satisfy  them  that  my  landed 
property  alone  is  of  more  than  fifty  times  the  amount  of  this  sum.  Flattering 
myself  then  that  under  these  circumstances,  and  where  the  difference  to  them 
is  only  whether  they  shall  receive  their  interest  from  A.  or  from  B.  I  shall  be 
indulged  with  this  accommodation,  I  have  remitted  to  my  friend  John  Vaughan 
of  Philadelphia  400.  Dollars  to  be  invested  in  a  good  bill  payable  to  yourself, 
with  a  request  to  you  that  you  will  pay  to  whoever  of  the  family  is  entitled  to 
receive  it,  a  year's  interest,  to  wit  380.  Dollars  52  cents.  Altho'  I  suggest  an 
indulgence  indefinite  in  it's  particular  term,  I  have  no  idea  of  postponing  the 
commencement  of  my  remittances,  by  thirds,  more  than  a  year  or  two  longer. 
If  the  seasons  should,  against  the  course  of  nature  hitherto  observed  continue 
constantly  hostile  to  our  agriculture,  I  will  certainly  relieve  myself  at  once  by  a 
sale  of  property  sufficient  to  refund  this  whole  debt,  a  measure  very  disagree 
able  while  the  expectation  exists  of  doing  it  from  the  annual  profits  ;  and  the 
family  will  be  always  free  to  discontinue  the  indulgence  if  the  delay  should  be 
protracted  unreasonably  and  inconveniently  to  them.  The  nett  proceeds  of 
the  sale  of  the  ground  in  Richmond  was  6342,  say  six  thousand  three  hundred 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  53 

a  Cabal,  when  such  a  one  gets  possession  of  the  bench.  When 
this  takes  place,  it  becomes  the  most  afflicting  of  tyrannies,  be 
cause  it's  powers  are  so  various,  and  exercised  on  every  thing  most 
immediately  around  us.  And  how  many  instances  have  you  and 
I  known  of  these  monopolies  of  county  administration  !  I  know 
a  county  in  which  a  particular  family  (a  numerous  one)  got  pos 
session  of  the  bench,  and  for  a  whole  generation,  never  admitted 

and  forty  two  Dollars,  received  July  14.  1813.  If  the  family  consents  to  my 
proposal,  I  will,  on  being  so  informed,  settle  up  the  back  interest,  add  it  to 
the  principal,  send  them  a  specific  obligation  and  thenceforth  remit  annually 
the  interest  of  six  per  cent,  with  portions  of  the  principal  as  fast  as  I  shall  be 
able.  I  think  there  remains  no  other  item  of  account  between  Mr.  Mazzei  and 
myself,  except  50.  D.  paid  to  the  lawyer  employed  in  the  recovery  &  20.  D.  to 
Mr.  Derieux  by  particular  request  of  Mr.  Mazzei. 

I  write  all  this  to  you,  because  you  have  hitherto  been  the  mutual  channel  of 
this  business  ;  for  altho  Mr.  Carmigniani  wrote  me  a  letter  which  I  answered 
July  18.  as  before  mentioned,  with  a  full  explanation  of  the  state  of  the  debt, 
the  circumstances  which  had  occasioned  it's  remaining  in  my  hands,  and  the 
remittances  proposed,  yet  the  marriage  of  Miss  Mazzei  with  Mr.  Pini  has,  I 
supposed  determined  his  agency.  I  shall  be  uneasy  until  I  learn  that  the 
family  is  contented  with  this  arrangement,  and  I  will  therefore  sollicit  an 
early  line  from  you.  .  . 

Still  later  he  wrote  to  Appleton  : 

MONTICELLO,  July  13,  20. 

DEAR  SIR, — My  letters  to  you,  within  the  last  12.  months  have  been  of  May 
28.  19.  with  the  annual  remittance  to  M.  &  Me.  Pini,  Sep.  3.  informing  you  of 
a  remittance  thro'  Mr.  Vaughan  of  300.  D.  for  the  wives  of  the  two  Raggis,  and 
Feb.  15.  20.  announcing  a  remittance  of  400.  D.  for  the  same  persons  to  pay 
their  passage  and  expences  to  the  U  S.  Since  the  last  of  these  your  two  of  Jan. 
15.  &  21.  have  been  received.  I  wonder  much  that  the  remittance  of  the  300. 
D.  had  not  got  to  hand  at  the  date  of  yours  of  Jan.  21.  but  that  transaction 
having  passed  between  Mr.  Vaughan  and  our  Proctor,  I  am  not  able  to  state 
the  particulars  of  it's  transmission.  I  hope  however  it  is  long  since  at  hand.  As 
to  the  400.  D.  of  Feb.  last,  Mr.  Vaughan  in  a  letter  of  Mar.  3.  says  "  the  400 
D.  have  been  received,  and  I  purchased  S.  Girard's  bill  on  Jas.  Lafite  and  Co. 
Paris  at  60.  days  to  order  of  Thos.  Appleton  for  2135  90/100 — equal  to  403.  D. 
which  I  have  forwarded  to  him  under  cover  to  Bernard  Henry,  Gibraltar,  by 
the  Newburn,  Capt.  Gushing  via  Madeira,  &  duplicate  by  the  Pleiades  Capt. 
West  direct  to  Gibraltar,  under  care  of  a  friend.  The  3d  I  shall  send  via  New 
York.  By  the  Pleiades  I  sent  your  letter  to  Mr.  Appleton."  Since  your  in 
formation  as  to  the  post  thro*  Spain  I  much  regret  that  this  last  remittance  has 
gone  by  Gibraltar.  Altho'  I  should  have  supposed  opportunities  from  that  to 
Leghorn  by  sea  could  not  have  been  rare.  However  I  shall  caution  Mr. 

54  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

a  man  on  it  who  was  not  of  it's  clan  or  connection.  I  know  a 
county  now  of  1500.  militia,  of  which  60.  are  federalists.  It's 
court  is  of  30.  members  of  whom  20.  are  federalists  (every  third 
man  of  the  sect)  wherein  there  are  large  and  populous  districts, 
without  a  justice,  because  without  a  federalist  for  appointment, 
and  the  militia  as  disproportionably  under  federal  officers  ;  and 
there  is  no  authority  on  earth  which  can  break  up  this  junto  short 
of  a  general  convention.  The  remaining  1440  free,  fighting,  & 
paying  citizens  are  governed  by  men  neither  of  their  choice  nor 
confidence  &  without  a  hope  of  relief.  They  are  certainly  ex- 

Vaughan  against  it  in  future,  and  recommend  London  &  Paris,  perhaps  also 
Marseilles  where  an  opportunity  to  Leghorn  direct  does  not  occur. 

In  mine  of  Feb.  15.  I  mentioned  that  I  should  make  my  annual  remittance 
to  M.  &  Me  Pini  in  April  or  May.  I  am  however  to  this  date  before  it  could  be 
done.  The  extraordinary  embarrassments  produced  by  the  sudden  withdrawing 
of  one  half  of  our  circulating  medium  has  in  a  great  measure  suspended  money 
transactions.  9.  out  of  10.  of  the  banks  of  the  different  states  have  blown  up  ; 
the  adventurers  calling  themselves  merchants,  who  had  been  trading  on  bank 
credits,  have  been  swept  away.  Those  who  stood  the  ordeal  still  suspend  their 
business,  from  caution,  till  the  storm  shall  be  over,  so  that  from  want  of  me 
dium,  and  the  want  of  purchasers  at  market,  property  &  produce  are  fallen  one 
half.  \Ve  had  18.  month  ago  6.  millions  of  Dollars  in  circulation  in  this  state, 
of  paper  ;  we  have  but  3  millions  now.  Produce,  say  flour  sold  from  8.  to  16. 
D.  a  barrel.  It  is  now  at  4.  D.  This  extraordinary  curtaillment  in  the  profits 
of  the  year  has  brought  on  a  general  distress,  unknown  before  in  the  annals  of 
our  country.  Before  this  explosion  in  our  commerce,  I  had  hoped  myself  to 
have  been  able  in  good  time  to  remit  the  principal  of  my  debt  to  M.  &  Me  Pini, 
from  the  annual  profits  of  my  estate  :  but  the  fall  in  the  price  of  produce, 
likely  to  continue  some  time  yet,  has  induced  me  to  give  up  that  hope  and  to 
determine  on  the  sale  of  property  sufficient  for  that  paiment.  This  I  \pll  cer 
tainly  do  as  soon  as  the  present  suspension  of  buying  and  selling  ceases,  and 
bidders  at  a  fair  price  return  into  the  market.  At  this  time  nothing  can  be  sold 
at  half  price.  These  difficulties  have  made  me  a  little  later  than  I  had  expected 
in  the  remittance  of  interest  this  year  to  M.  &  Me  Pini.  I  have  now  placed  in 
Mr.  Vaughan's  hands  444  D.  with  a  request  to  vest  it  in  a  bill  of  Mr.  Girard 
on  Paris,  (the  most  solid  channel  of  remittance,  and  indulged  to  me  as  a  favor,) 
and  to  send  it  via  Paris  or  London,  or  both ;  so  that  I  hope  it  will  have  a  safe 
and  speedy  passage  to  you.  .  .  . 

P.  S.  June  30.  20.  I  had  written  thus  far  when  your  favor  of  May  18.  came 
to  hand.  The  remittance  of  300.  D.  for  the  Raggis,  mentioned  in  my  letter 
from  Poplar  Forest,  I  find  on  enquiry  was  not  carried  into  execution.  The 
Proctor  informs  me  that  they  soon  after  changed  their  minds,  concluded  to  send 
for  their  wives,  which  requiring  a  larger  sum,  produced  delay  till  the  state  of 
their  accounts  admitted  it,  this  brought  on  winter  and  finally  the  remittance 

i8i6]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  55 

eluded  from  the  blessings  of  a  free  government  for  life,  &  indefi 
nitely  for  ought  the  constitution  has  provided.  This  solecism  may 
be  called  anything  but  republican,  and  ought  undoubtedly  to  be 
corrected.  I  salute  you  with  constant  friendship  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  July  26,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — In  compliance  with  the  request  of  your 
letter  of  the  6th  inst,  with  respect  to  Peyton  Ran 
dolph,  I  have  to  observe  that  the  difference  of  age 
between  him  and  myself  admitted  my  knowing  little 
of  his  early  life,  except  what  I  accidentally  caught 
from  occasional  conversations.  I  was  a  student  at 
college  when  he  was  already  Attorney  General  at  the 
bar,  and  a  man  of  established  years ;  and  I  had  no 
intimacy  with  him  until  I  went  to  the  bar  myself, 
when,  I  suppose,  he  must  have  been  upwards  of 
forty ;  from  that  time,  and  especially  after  I  became 
a  member  of  the  legislature,  until  his  death,  our  inti 
macy  was  cordial,  and  I  was  with  him  when  he  died. 
Under  these  circumstances,  I  have  committed  to 
writing  as  many  incidents  of  his  life  as  memory  en- 

of  400.  D.  was  made  only  in  time  for  them  to  sail  in  spring.  On  the  subject 
of  what  I  owe  to  Mr.  Mazzei's  representatives.  I  had  already  made  up  my  mind 
to  clear  it  out  as  soon  as  possible.  Like  thousands  of  others,  I  had  sustained 
some  losses  by  being  security  for  a  friend  who  failed  under  the  late  general 
bankruptcies.  This  not  admitting  the  delay  of  annual  crops  I  had  come  to  the 
resolution  of  selling  some  unprofitable  property  to  pay  at  once  and  to  make  the 
sale  sufficient  to  discharge  the  debt  to  M.  &  Me  Pini.  As  yet  however  nothing 
can  be  sold.  All  confidence  is  suspended,  and  fear  takes  it's  place.  The 
grounds  for  example  in  Richmd  of  Mr.  Mazzei  which  sold  for  6432  D.  could 
not  now  be  sold  for  1500  D.  It  will  probably  be  another  year  before  the  fair 
prices  of  things  are  settled  and  proportioned  to  the  reduction  of  circulating  me 
dium.  I  shall  certainly  take  advantage  of  the  first  possibilities  of  disposing  of 
property  to  disengage  myself.  It  is  this  same  state  of  commerce  which  has  de 
layed  to  this  date  the  remittance  of  this  year's  interest :  I  salute  you  with 
constant  &  affectionate  friendship  and  respect. 

56  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

abled  me  to  do,  and  to  give  faith  to  the  many  and 
excellent  qualities  he  possessed,  I  have  mentioned 
those  minor  ones  which  he  did  not  possess  ;  consider 
ing  true  history,  in  which  all  will  be  believed,  as  pref 
erable  to  unqualified  panegyric,  in  which  nothing  is 
believed.  I  avoided,  too,  the  mention  of  trivial  inci 
dents,  which,  by  not  distinguishing,  disparage  a  char 
acter  ;  but  I  have  not  been  able  to  state  early  dates. 
Before  forwarding  this  paper  to  you,  I  received  a  let 
ter  from  Peyton  Randolph,  his  great  nephew,  repeat 
ing  the  request  you  had  made.  I  therefore  put  the 
paper  under  a  blank  cover,  addressed  to  you,  unsealed, 
and  sent  it  to  Peyton  Randolph,  that  he  might  see 
what  dates  as  well  as  what  incidents  might  be  col 
lected,  supplementary  to  mine,  and  correct  any  which 
I  had  inexactly  stated  ;  circumstances  may  have  been 
misremembered,  but  nothing,  I  think,  of  substance. 
This  account  of  Peyton  Randolph,  therefore,  you 
may  expect  to  be  forwarded  by  his  nephew. 

You  requested  me  when  here,  to  communicate  to 
you  the  particulars  of  two  transactions  in  which  I  was 
myself  an  agent,  to  wit :  the  coup  de  main  of  Arnold 
on  Richmond,  and  Tarleton's  on  Charlottesville.  I 
now  enclose  them,  detailed  with  an  exactness  on  which 
you  may  rely  with  an  entire  confidence.  But,  having 
an  insuperable  aversion  to  be  drawn  into  controversy 
in  the  public  papers,  I  must  request  not  to  be  quoted 
either  as  to  these  or  the  account  of  Peyton  Randolph. 
Accept  the  assurances  of  my  esteem  and  respect.1 


Peyton  Randolph  was  the  eldest  son  of  Sir  John  Randolph,  of  Virginia,  a 
barrister-at-law,  and  an  eminent  practitioner  at  the  bar  of  the  General  Court. 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  57 


MONTICELLO   Aug.  2.  l6. 

DEAR  SIR, — Mrs.  Randolph,  Ellen  &  myself  in 
tended  before  this  to  have  had  the  pleasure  of  seeing 
Mrs  Madison  and  yourself  at  Montpelier  as  we  men 
tioned  to  Mr  Coles  ;  but  three  days  ago  Mrs  Ran 
dolph  was  taken  with  a  fever,  which  has  confined  her 
to  her  bed  ever  since.  It  is  so  moderate  that  we  are 
in  the  hourly  hope  of  its  leaving  her  and,  after  a 
little  time  to  recruit  her  strength,  of  carrying  her 
purpose  into  execution,  which  we  shall  lose  no  time 
in  doing.  In  the  meantime  I  salute  Mrs  Madison  & 
yourself  with  unceasing  affection  &  respect. 

Peyton  was  educated  at  the  College  of  William  and  Mary  in  Williamsburg,  and 
thence  went  to  England,  and  studied  law  at  the  Temple.  At  his  return  he  in 
termarried  with  Elizabeth  Harrison,  sister  of  the  afterwards  Governor  Harri 
son,  entered  into  practice  in  the  General  Court,  was  afterwards  appointed  the 
King's  Attorney-General  for  the  colony,  and  became  a  representative  in  the 
House  of  Burgesses  (then  so  called)  for  the  city  of  Williamsburg. 

Governor  Dinwiddie  having,  about  this  period,  introduced  the  exaction  of  a 
new  fee  on  his  signature  of  grants  for  lands,  without  the  sanction  of  any  law, 
the  House  of  Burgesses  remonstrated  against  it,  and  sent  Peyton  Randolph  to 
England,  as  their  agent,  to  oppose  it  before  the  king  and  council.  The  interest 
of  the  governor,  as  usual,  prevailed  against  that  of  the  colony,  and  his  new 
exaction  was  confirmed  by  the  king. 

After  Braddock's  defeat  on  the  Monongahela,  in  1755,  the  incursions  of  the 
Indians  on  our  frontiers  spread  panic  and  dismay  through  the  whole  country, 
insomuch  that  it  was  scarcely  possible  to  procure  men,  either  as  regulars  or  mili 
tia,  to  go  against  them.  To  counteract  this  terror  and  to  set  a  good  example, 
a  number  of  the  wealthiest  individuals  of  the  colony,  and  the  highest  standing 
in  it,  in  public  as  well  as  in  their  private  relations,  associated  under  obligations 
to  furnish  each  of  them  two  able-bodied  men,  at  their  own  expense,  to  form 
themselves  into  a  regiment  under  the  denomination  of  the  Virginia  Blues,  to 
join  the  colonial  force  on  the  frontier,  and  place  themselves  under  its  com 
mander,  George  Washington,  then  a  colonel.  They  appointed  William  Byrd, 
a  member  of  the  council,  colonel  of  the  regiment,  and  Peyton  Randolph,  I 
think,  had  also  some  command.  But  the  original  associators  had  more  the  will 
than  the  power  of  becoming  effective  soldiers.  Born  and  bred  in  the  lap  of 

1  From  the  Historical  Magazine,  xiv.,  247. 

58  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 


MONTICELLO,  September  4,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  read,  with  great  delight,  the  por 
tion  of  the  history  of  Mr.  Henry  which  you  have  been 
so  kind  as  to  favour  me  with,  and  which  is  now  re 
turned.  And  I  can  say,  from  my  own  knowledge  of  the 
contemporary  characters  introduced  into  the  canvas, 
that  you  have  given  them  quite  as  much  lustre  as  them 
selves  would  have  asked.  The  exactness,  too,  of  your 
details  has,  in  several  instances,  corrected  their  errors  in 
my  own  recollections,  where  they  had  begun  to  falter. 

In  result,  I  scarcely  find  anything  needing  revisal  ; 
yet,  to  show  you  that  I  have  scrupulously  sought  oc- 

wealth,  all  the  habits  of  their  lives  were  of  ease,  indolence,  and  indulgence. 
Such  men  were  little  fitted  to  sleep  under  tents,  and  often  without  them,  to  be 
exposed  to  all  the  intemperances  of  the  seasons,  to  swim  rivers,  range  the 
woods,  climb  mountains,  wade  morasses,  to  skulk  behind  trees,  and  contend  as 
sharp-shooters  with  the  savages  of  the  wilderness,  who,  in  all  the  scenes  and 
exercises,  would  be  in  their  natural  element.  Accordingly,  the  commander 
was  more  embarrassed  with  their  care,  than  reinforced  by  their  service.  They 
had  the  good  fortune  to  see  no  enemy,  and  to  return  at  the  end  of  the  campaign 
rewarded  by  the  favor  of  the  public  for  this  proof  of  their  generous  patriotism 
and  good  will. 

When  afterwards,  in  1764,  on  the  proposal  of  the  Stamp  Act,  the  House  of 
Burgesses  determined  to  send  an  address  against  it  to  the  king,  and  memorials 
to  the  Houses  of  Lords  and  Commons,  Peyton  Randolph,  George  Wythe.and  (I 
think)  Robert  C.  Nicholas,  were  appointed  to  draw  these  papers.  That  to  the 
king  was  by  Peyton  Randolph,  and  the  memorial  to  the  Commons  was  by 
George  Wythe.  It  was  on  the  ground  of  these  papers  that  those  gentlemen  op 
posed  the  famous  resolutions  of  Mr.  Henry  in  1765,  to  wit,  that  the  principles 
of  these  resolutions  had  been  asserted  and  maintained  in  the  address  and  memor 
ials  of  the  year  before,  to  which  an  answer  was  yet  to  be  expected. 

On  the  death  of  the  speaker,  Robinson,  in  1766,  Peyton  Randolph  was 
elected  speaker.  He  resigned  his  office  of  Attorney-General,  in  which  he  was 
succeeded  by  his  brother  Randolph,  father  of  the  late  Edmund  Randolph,  and 
retired  from  the  bar.  He  now  devoted  himself  solely  to  his  duties  as  a  legisla 
tor,  and  although  sound  in  his  principles,  and  going  steadily  with  us  in  opposi 
tion  to  the  British  usurpations,  he,  with  the  other  older  members,  yielded  the 

1  From  Kennedy's  Afemoirs  of  IV.   Wirt,  i.,  362. 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  59 

casions  of  animadversion,  I  will  particularize  the  fol 
lowing  passages,  which  I  noted  as  I  read  them. 

Page  1 1  :  I  think  this  passage  had  better  be  mod 
erated.  That  Mr.  Henry  read  Livy  through  once  a 
year  is  a  known  impossibility  with  those  who  knew 
him.  He  may  have  read  him  once,  and  some  general 
history  of  Greece  ;  but  certainly  not  twice.  A  first 
reading  of  a  book  he  could  accomplish  sometimes 
and  on  some  subjects,  but  never  a  second.  He 
knew  well  the  geography  of  his  own  country,  but  cer 
tainly  never  made  any  other  a  study.  So,  as  to  our 
ancient  charters  ;  he  had  probably  read  those  in  Stith's 

lead  to  the  younger,  only  tempering  their  ardor,  and  so  far  moderating  their 
pace  as  to  prevent  their  going  too  far  in  advance  of  the  public  sentiment. 

On  the  establishment  of  a  committee  by  the  legislature,  to  correspond  with 
the  other  colonies,  he  was  named  their  chairman,  and  their  first  proposition 
to  the  other  colonies  was  to  appoint  similar  committees,  who  might  consider 
the  expediency  of  calling  a  general  Congress  of  deputies  in  order  to  procure  a 
harmony  of  procedure  among  the  whole.  This  produced  the  call  of  the  first 
Congress,  to  which  he  was  chosen  a  delegate,  by  the  House  of  Burgesses,  and 
of  which  he  was  appointed,  by  that  Congress,  its  president. 

On  the  receipt  of  what  was  called  Lord  North's  conciliatory  proposition,  in 
1775,  Lord  Dunmore  called  the  General  Assembly,  and  laid  it  before  them. 
Peyton  Randolph  quitted  the  chair  of  Congress,  in  which  he  was  succeeded  by 
Mr.  Hancock,  and  repaired  to  that  of  the  House  which  had  deputed  him. 
Anxious  about  the  tone  and  spirit  of  the  answer  which  should  be  given  (because 
being  the  first  it  might  have  effect  on  those  of  the  other  colonies),  and  suppos 
ing  that  a  younger  pen  would  be  more  likely  to  come  up  to  the  feelings  of  the 
body  he  had  left,  he  requested  me  to  draw  the  answer,  and  steadily  supported 
and  carried  it  through  the  House,  with  a  few  softenings  only  from  the  more 
timid  members. 

After  the  adjournment  of  the  House  of  Burgesses  he  returned  to  Congress, 
and  died  theee  of  an  apoplexy,  on  the  22d  of  October  following,  aged,  as  I 
should  conjecture,  about  fifty  years. 

He  was  indeed  a  most  excellent  man  ;  and  none  was  ever  more  beloved  and 
respected  by  his  friends.  Somewhat  cold  and  coy  towards  strangers,  but  of  the 
sweetest  affability  when  ripened  into  acquaintance.  Of  attic  pleasantry  in  con 
versation,  always  good  humored  and  conciliatory.  With  a  sound  and  logical 
head,  he  was  well  read  in  the  law  ;  and  his  opinions,  when  consulted,  were 
highly  regarded,  presenting  always  a  learned  and  sound  view  of  the  subject, 

60  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

history  ;  but  no  man  ever  more  undervalued  chartered 
titles  than  himself.  He  drew  all  natural  rights  from  a 
purer  source — the  feelings  of  his  own  breast.  *  *  * 

He  never,  in  conversation  or  debate,  mentioned 
a  hero,  a  worthy,  or  a  fact  in  Greek  or  Roman  his 
tory,  but  so  vaguely  and  loosely  as  to  leave  room  to 
back  out,  if  he  found  he  had  blundered. 

The  study  and  learning  ascribed  to  him,  in  this 
passage,  would  be  inconsistent  with  the  excellent  and 
just  picture  given  of  his  indolence  through  the  rest  of 
the  work. 

Page  33,  line  4  :  Inquire  further  into  the  fact 
alleged  that  Henry  was  counsel  for  Littlepage.  I 
am  much  persuaded  he  was  counsel  for  Dandridge. 
There  was  great  personal  antipathy  between  him  and 
Littlepage,  and  the  closest  intimacy  with  Dandridge, 
who  was  his  near  neighbor,  in  whose  house  he  was 
at  home  as  one  of  the  family,  who  was  his  earliest 
and  greatest  admirer  and  patron,  and  whose  daughter 
became,  afterwards,  his  second  wife. 

but  generally,  too,  a  listlessness  to  go  into  its  thorough  development  ;  for  being 
heavy  and  inert  in  body,  he  was  rather  too  indolent  and  careless  for  business, 
which  occasioned  him  to  get  a  smaller  proportion  of  it  at  the  bar  than  his  abili 
ties  would  otherwise  have  commanded.  Indeed,  after  his  appointment  as  At 
torney-General,  he  did  not  seem  to  court,  nor  scarcely  to  welcome,  business. 
In  that  office  he  considered  himself  equally  charged  with  the  rights  of  the  col 
ony  as  with  those  of  the  crown  ;  and  in  criminal  prosecutions,  exaggerating 
nothing,  he  aimed  at  a  candid  and  just  state  of  the  transaction,  believing  it 
more  a  duty  to  save  an  innocent  than  to  convict  a  guilty  man.  Although  not 
eloquent,  his  matter  was  so  substantial  that  no  man  commanded  more  atten 
tion,  which,  joined  with  a  sense  of  his  great  worth,  gave  him  a  weight  in  the 
House  of  Burgesses  which  few  ever  attained.  He  was  liberal  in  his  expenses 
but  correct  also,  so  as  not  to  be  involved  in  pecuniary  embarrassments  ;  and 
with  a  heart  always  open  to  the  amiable  sensibilities  of  our  nature,  he  did  as 
many  good  acts  as  could  have  been  done  with  his  fortune,  without  injuriously 
impairing  his  means  of  continuing  them.  He  left  no  issue,  and  gave  his  for 
tune  to  his  widow  and  nephew,  the  late  Edmund  Randolph. 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  61 

It  was  in  his  house  that,  during  a  course  of  Christ 
mas  festivities,  I  first  became  acquainted  with  Mr. 
Henry.  This,  it  is  true,  is  but  presumptive  evidence, 
and  may  be  overruled  by  direct  proof.  But  I  am 
confident  he  could  never  have  undertaken  any  case 
against  Dandridge  ;  considering  the  union  of  their 
bosoms,  it  would  have  been  a  great  crime.1  *  *  * 

1  Jefferson  further  wrote  to  Wirt  concerning  his  Life  of  Patrick  Henry  : 

POPLAR  FOREST,  November  12,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — Yours  of  October  23d,  was  received  here  on  the  3ist,  with  the 
latest  sheets  of  your  work. 

They  found  me  engaged  in  a  business  which  could  not  be  postponed,  and 
have  therefore  been  detained  longer  than  I  wished. 

On  the  subject  of  our  ancient  aristocracy,  I  believe  I  have  said  nothing  which 
all  who  knew  them  will  not  confirm,  and  which  their  reasonable  descendants 
may  not  learn  from  every  quarter.  It  was  the  effect  of  the  large  accumulation 
of  property  under  the  law  of  entails. 

The  suppression  of  entailsreduced  the  spirit  of  the  rich,  while  the  increased 
influence  given  by  the  new  government  to  the  people,  raised  theirs,  and  brought 
things  to  their  present  level,  from  a  condition  which  the  present  generation, 
who  have  not  seen  it,  can  scarcely  believe  or  conceive. 

You  ask  if  I  think  your  work  would  be  the  better  of  retrenchment  ?  By  no 
means.  I  have  seen  nothing  in  it  which  could  be  retrenched  but  to  disadvan 
tage.  And  again,  whether,  as  a  friend,  I  would^  advise  its  publication?  On 
that  question,  I  have  no  hesitation  on  your  account,  as  well  as  that  of  the  pub 
lic.  To  the  latter,  it  will  be  valuable  ;  and  honourable  to  yourself. 

You  must  expect  to  be  criticised  ;  and,  by  a  former  letter  I  see  you  expect  it. 
By  the  Quarterly  Reviewers  you  will  be  hacked  and  hewed,  with  tomahawk 
and  scalping-knife.  Those  of  Edinburgh,  with  the  same  anti-American  preju 
dices,  but  sometimes  considering  us  as  allies  against  their  administration,  will 
do  it  more  decently. 

They  will  assume,  as  a  model  for  biography,  the  familiar  manner  of  Plutarch, 
or  scanty  manner  of  Nepos,  and  try  you,  perhaps,  by  these  tests.  But  they 
can  only  prove  that  your  style  is  different  from  theirs  ;  not  that  it  is  not  good. 

I  have  always  very  much  dispised  the  artificial  canons  of  criticism.  When 
I  have  read  a  work  in  prose  or  poetry,  or  seen  a  painting,  a  statue,  etc.,  I  have 
only  asked  myself  whether  it  gives  me  pleasure,  whether  it  is  animating,  inter 
esting,  attaching?  If  it  is,  it  is  good  for  these  reasons.  On  these  grounds  you 
will  be  safe.  Those  who  take  up  your  book,  will  find  they  cannot  lay  it  down, 
and  this  will  be  its  best  criticism. 

You  have  certainly  practised  vigorously  the  precept  of  "  de  mortuis  nil  nisi 

62  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 


MONTICELLO,  September  8,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  jealousy  of  the  European  govern 
ments  rendering  it  unsafe  to  pass  letters  through 
their  postoffices,  I  am  obliged  to  borrow  the  protec 
tion  of  your  cover  to  procure  a  safe  passage  for  the 
enclosed  letter  to  Madame  de  Stae'l,  and  to  ask  the 

bonum."  This  presents  a  very  difficult  question, — whether  one  only  or  both 
sides  of  the  medal  shall  be  presented.  It  constitutes,  perhaps,  the  distinction 
between  panegyric  and  history.  On  this,  opinions  are  much  divided — and,  per 
haps,  may  be  so  on  this  feature  of  your  work.  On  the  whole,  however,  you 
have  nothing  to  fear;  at  least  if  my  views  are  not  very  different  from  the  com 
mon.  And  no  one  will  see  its  appearance  with  more  pleasure  than  myself,  as 
no  one  can,  with  more  truth,  give  you  assurances  of  great  respect  and  affec 
tionate  attachment. 

POPLAR  FOREST.  Sep.  29,  16. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  found,  on  my  arrival  here  the  2d  parcel  of  your  sheets,  which 
I  have  read  with  the  same  avidity  and  pleasure  as  the  former.  This  proves 
they  will  experience  no  delay  in  my  hands,  and  that  I  consider  them  as  worthy 
everything  I  can  do  for  them.  They  need  indeed  but  little,  or  rather  I  should 
say  nothing.  I  have  however  hazarded  some  suggestions  on  a  paper  inclosed. 
When  I  read  the  former  sheets,  I  did  not  consider  the  article  of  style  as  within 
my  jurisdiction.  However  since  you  ask  observations  on  that,  and  suggest 
doubts  entertained  by  yourself  on  a  particular  quality  of  it,  I  will  candidly  say 
that  I  think  some  passages  of  the  former  sheets  too  flowery  for  the  sober  taste  of 
history.  It  will  please  young  readers  in  it's  present  form,  but  to  the  older  it  would 
give  more  pleasure  and  confidence  to  have  some  exuberances  lightly  pruned. 
I  say  lightly,  because  your  style  is  naturally  rich  and  captivating,  and  would 
suffer  if  submitted  to  the  rasp  of  a  rude  hand.  A  few  excrescences  may  be 
rubbed  off  by  a  delicate  touch  ;  but  better  too  little  than  too  much  correction. 
In  the  2d  parcel  of  sheets,  altho'  read  with  an  eye  to  your  request,  I  have 
found  nothing  of  this  kind.  I  thus  comply  with  your  desire  ;  but  on  the  con 
dition  originally  prescribed,  that  you  shall  consider  my  observations  as  mere 
suggestions,  meant  to  recall  the  subject  to  a  revision  by  yourself,  and  that  no 
change  be  made  in  consequence  of  them  but  on  the  confirmed  dictates  of  your 
own  judgement.  I  have  no  amour-propre  which  will  suffer  by  having  hazarded 
a  false  criticism.  On  the  contrary  I  should  regret  were  the  genuine  character 
of  your  composition  to  be  adulterated  by  any  foreign  ingredient.  I  return  to 
Albermarle  within  a  week.  Shall  stay  there  10.  days,  come  back  and  pass  here 
October  and  part  of  November.  I  salute  you  affectionately. 

MONTICELLO,  Oct.  8,  16. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  received  your  3d  parcel  of  sheets  just  as  I  was  leaving  Poplar 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  63 

favor  of  you  to  have  it  delivered  at  the  hotel  of  M. 
de  Lessert  without  passing  through  the  post-office. 

In  your  answer  of  June  7  to  mine  of  May  18,  you 
mentioned  that  you  did  not  understand  to  what  pro 
ceeding  of  Congress  I  alluded  as  likely  to  produce  a 
removal  of  most  of  the  members,  and  that  by  a  spon 
taneous  movement  of  the  people,  unsuggested  by  the 
newspapers,  which  had  been  silent  on  it.  I  alluded 

Forest,  and  have  read  them  with  the  usual  pleasure.  They  relate  however  to 
the  period  of  time  exactly,  during  which  I  was  absent  in  Europe.  Conse 
quently  I  am  without  knolege  of  the  facts  they  state.  Indeed  they  are  mostly 
new  history  to  me. 

On  the  subject  of  style  they  are  not  liable  to  the  doubts  I  hazarded  on  the 
1st  parcel,  unless  a  short  passage  in  page  198,  should  be  thought  too  poetical. 
Indeed  as  I  read  the  2d  &  3d  parcels  with  attentions  to  style  and  found  them 
not  subject  to  the  observations  I  made  on  the  first,  (which  were  from  memory 
only,  &  after  I  had  parted  with  them)  I  have  suspected  that  a  revisal  might 
have  corrected  my  opinion  on  the  ist.  Of  this  however  you  will  judge.  One 
only  fact  in  the  last  sheets  was  within  my  knolege,  that  relating  to  Philips,  and 
on  this  I  had  formerly  given  you  explanations.  I  am  very  glad  indeed  that 
you  have  examined  the  records,  and  established  truth  in  this  case.  How  Mr. 
Randolph  could  indulge  himself  in  a  statement  of  facts,  so  solemnly  made,  the 
falsehood  of  every  article  of  which  had  been  known  to  himself  particularly  ;  and 
how  Mr.  Henry  could  be  silent  under  such  a  perversion  of  facts  known  to  him 
self,  agreed  on  at  a  consultation  with  members  whom  he  invited  to  the  palace 
to  advise  with  on  the  occasion,  and  done  at  his  request  according  to  what  was 
concluded,  is  perfectly  unaccountable.  Not  that  I  consider  Mr.  Randolph  as 
misstating  intentionally,  or  desiring  to  boulster  an  argument  at  the  expence  of  an 
absent  person  :  for  there  were  no  unsocial  dispositions  between  him  &  myself  ; 
and  as  little  do  I  impute  to  Mr.  Henry  any  willingness  to  leave  on  my  shoulders 
a  charge  which  he  could  so  easily  have  disproved.  The  fact  must  have  been  that 
they  were  both  out  of  their  heads  on  that  occasion.  Still  not  the  less  injuriously 
to  me,  whom  Mr.  Randolph  might  as  well  have  named,  as  the  journals  shewed  I 
was  the  first  named  of  the  Committee.  Would  it  be  out  of  place  for  you  to 
refer  by  a  note  to  the  countenance  which  Judge  Tucker  has  given  to  this  mis 
representation,  by  making  strictures  on  it,  in  his  Blackstone,  as  if  it  were  true  ? 
It  is  such  a  calumny  on  our  revolutionary  government  as  should  be  eradicated 
from  history,  and  especially  from  that  of  this  state,  which  justly  prides  itself 
on  having  gone  thro'  the  revolution  without  a  single  example  of  capital  pun 
ishment  connected  with  that.  Ever  affectionately  yours. 

64  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

to  the  law  giving  themselves  1 500  D.  a  year.  There 
has  never  been  an  instant  before  of  so  unanimous  an 
opinion  of  the  people,  and  that  through  every  State 
in  the  Union.  A  very  few  members  of  the  first  order 
of  merit  in  the  House  will  be  re-elected,  Clay,  of 
Kentucky,  by  a  small  majority,  and  a  few  others. 
But  the  almost  entire  mass  will  go  out,  not  only  those 
who  supported  the  law  or  voted  for  it,  or  skulked 
from  the  vote,  but  those  who  voted  against  it  or  op 
posed  it  actively,  if  they  took  the  money ;  and  the  ex 
amples  of  refusals  to  take  it  were  very  few.  The  next 
Congress,  then,  Federal  as  well  as  Republican,  will 
be  almost  wholly  of  new  members. 

We  have  had  the  most  extraordinary  year  of 
drought  and  cold  ever  known  in  the  history  of  Amer 
ica.  In  June,  instead  of  3f  inches,  our  average  of 
rain  for  that  month,  we  only  had  \  of  an  inch ;  in 
August,  instead  of  9^  inches  our  average,  we  had  only 
-j^  of  an  inch ;  and  still  it  continues.  The  summer, 
too,  has  been  as  cold  as  a  moderate  winter.  In  every 
State  north  of  this  there  has  been  frost  in  every  month 
of  the  year ;  in  this  State  we  had  none  in  June  and 
July,  but  those  of  August  killed  much  corn  over  the 
mountains.  The  crop  of  corn  through  the  Atlantic 
States  will  probably  be  less  than  one-third  of  an  ordi 
nary  one,  that  of  tobacco  still  less,  and  of  mean  qual 
ity.  The  crop  of  wheat  was  middling  in  quantity, 
but  excellent  in  quality.  But  every  species  of  bread 
grain  taken  together  will  not  be  sufficient  for  the  sub 
sistence  of  the  inhabitants,  and  the  exportation  of 
flour,  already  begun  by  the  indebted  and  the  improvi 
dent,  to  whatsoever  degree  it  may  be  carried,  will  be 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  65 

exactly  so  much  taken  from  the  mouths  of  our  own 
citizens.  My  anxieties  on  this  subject  are  the  greater, 
because  I  remember  the  deaths  which  the  drought  of 
1755  in  Virginia  produced  from  the  want  of  food. 

There  are  not  to  be  the  smallest  opposition  to  the 
election  of  Monroe  and  Tompkins,  the  Republicans 
being  undivided  and  the  Federalists  desperate.  The 
Hartford  Convention  and  peace  of  Ghent  have  nearly 
annihilated  them. 

Our  State  is  becoming  clamorous  for  a  convention 
and  amendment  for  their  constitution,  and  I  believe 
will  obtain  it.  It  was  the  first  constitution  formed  in 
the  United  States,  and  of  course  the  most  imperfect. 
The  other  States  improved  in  theirs  in  proportion  as 
new  precedents  were  added,  and  most  of  them  have 
since  amended.  We  have  entered  on  a  liberal  plan 
of  internal  improvements,  and  the  universal  approba 
tion  of  it  will  encourage  and  insure  its  prosecution. 
I  recollect  nothing  else  domestic  worth  noting  to  you, 
and  therefore  place  here  my  respectful  and  affectionate 



MONTICELLO,  October  16,  1816. 

DEAR  SIR, — If  it  be  proposed  to  place  an  inscription  on  the 
capitol,  the  lapidary  style  requires  that  essential  facts  only  should 
be  stated,  and  these  with  a  brevity  admitting  no  superfluous  word. 
The  essential  facts  in  the  two  inscriptions  proposed  are  these  : 

FOUNDED     1791. — BURNT    BY    A    BRITISH     ARMY     1814. — RESTORED     BY    CON 
GRESS    1817. 

The  reasons  for  this  brevity  are  that  the  letters  must  be  of  ex 
traordinary  magnitude  to  be  read  from  below  ;  that  little  space  is 

VOL.  X. — 5 

66  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

allowed  them,  being  usually  put  into  a  pediment  or  in  a  frize,  or 
on  a  small  tablet  on  the  wall ;  and  in  our  case,  a  third  reason 
may  be  added,  that  no  passion  can  be  imputed  to  this  inscription, 
every  word  being  justifiable  from  the  most  classical  examples. 

But  a  question  of  more  importance  is  whether  there  should  be 
one  at  all  ?  The  barbarism  of  the  conflagration  will  immortalize 
that  of  the  nation.  It  will  place  them  forever  in  degraded  com 
parison  with  the  execrated  Bonaparte,  who,  in  possession  of 
almost  every  capitol  in  Europe,  injured  no  one.  Of  this,  history 
will  take  care,  which  all  will  read,  while  our  inscription  will  be 
seen  by  few.  Great  Britain,  in  her  pride  and  ascendency,  has 
certainly  hated  and  despised  us  beyond  every  earthly  object. 
Her  hatred  may  remain,  but  the  hour  of  her  contempt  is  passed 
and  is  succeeded  by  dread  ;  not  at  present,  but  a  distant  and  deep 
one.  It  is  the  greater  as  she  feels  herself  plunged  into  an  abyss 
of  ruin  from  which  no  human  means  point  out  an  issue.  We 
also  have  more  reason  to  hate  her  than  any  nation  on  earth.  But 
she  is  not  now  an  object  for  hatred.  She  is  falling  from  her 
transcendant  sphere,  which  all  men  ought  to  have  wished,  but  not 
that  she  should  lose  all  place  among  nations.  It  is  for  the  interest 
of  all  that  she  should  be  maintained,  nearly  on  a  par  with  other 
members  of  the  republic  of  nations.  Her  power,  absorbed  into 
that  of  any  other,  would  be  an  object  of  dread  to  all,  and  to  us 
more  than  all,  because  we  are  accessible  to  her  alone  and  through 
her  alone.  The  armies  of  Bonaparte  with  the  fleets  of  Britain, 
would  change  the  aspect  of  our  destinies.  Under  these  prospects 
should  we  perpetuate  hatred  against  her?  Should  we  not,  on 
the  contrary,  begin  to  open  ourselves  to  other  and  more  rational 
dispositions  ?  It  is  not  improbable  that  the  circumstances  of  the 
war  and  her  own  circumstances  may  have  brought  her  wise  men 
to  begin  to  view  us  with  other  and  even  with  kindred  eyes. 
Should  not  our  wise  men,  then,  lifted  above  the  passions  of  the 
ordinary  citizen,  begin  to  contemplate  what  will  be  the  interests 
of  our  country  on  so  important  a  change  among  the  elements 
which  influence  it  ?  I  think  it  would  be  better  to  give  her  time 
to  show  her  present  temper,  and  to  prepare  the  minds  of  our 
citizens  for  a  corresponding  change  of  disposition,  by  acts  of 
comity  towards  England  rather  than  by  commemoration  of  hatred. 

1816]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  67 

These  views  might  be  greatly  extended.  Perhaps,  however,  they 
are  premature,  and  that  I  may  see  the  ruin  of  England  nearer 
than  it  really  is.  This  will  be  matter  of  consideration  with  those 
to  whose  councils  we  have  committed  ourselves,  and  whose 
wisdom,  I  am  sure,  will  conclude  on  what  is  best.  Perhaps  they 
may  let  it  go  off  on  the  single  and  short  consideration  that  the 
thing  can  do  no  good,  and  may  do  harm.  Ever  and  affection 
ately  yours. 



DEAR  SIR, — I  received  here  (where  I  pass  a  good  deal  of  my 
time)  your  favor  of  Oct.  22.  covering  a  Prospectus  of  a  new 
edition  of  your  Olive  branch.  I  subscribe  to  it  with  pleasure, 
because  I  believe  it  has  done  and  will  do  much  good,  in  holding 
up  the  mirror  to  both  parties,  and  exhibiting  to  both  their  politi 
cal  errors.  That  I  have  had  my  share  of  them,  I  am  not  vain 
enough  to  doubt,  and  some  indeed  I  have  recognized.  There 
is  one  however  which  I  do  not,  altho'  charged  to  my  account, 
in  your  book,  and  as  that  is  the  subject  of  this  letter,  &  I  have 
my  pen  in  my  hand,  I  will  say  a  very  few  words  on  it.  It  is  my 
rejection  of  a  British  treaty  without  laying  it  before  the  Senate. 
It  has  never,  I  believe,  been  denied  that  the  President  may  re 
ject  a  treaty  after  it's  ratification  has  been  advised  by  the  Senate, 
then  certainly  he  may  before  that  advice  :  and  if  he  has  made 
up  his  mind  to  reject  it,  it  is  more  respectful  to  the  Senate  to  do 
it  without,  than  against  their  advice.  It  must  not  be  said  that 
their  advice  may  cast  new  light  on  it.  Their  advice  is  a  bald 
resolution  of  yea  or  nay,  without  assigning  a  single  reason  or 

You  ask  if  I  mean  to  publish  anything  on  the  subject  of  a  letter 
of  mine  to  my  friend  Charles  Thompson  ?  Certainly  not.  I 
write  nothing  for  publication,  and  last  of  all  things  should  it  be 
on  the  subject  of  religion.  On  the  dogmas  of  religion  as  dis 
tinguished  from  moral  principles,  all  mankind,  from  the  begin 
ning  of  the  world  to  this  day,  have  been  quarrelling,  fighting, 
burning  and  torturing  one  another,  for  abstractions  unintelligible 

68  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1816 

to  themselves  and  to  all  others,  and  absolutely  beyond  the  com 
prehension  of  the  human  mind.  Were  I  to  enter  on  that  arena, 
I  should  only  add  an  unit  to  the  number  of  Bedlamites.  Accept 
the  assurance  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 



DEAR  SIR, — I  received  your  favor  of  Oct.  16,  at  this  place, 
where  I  pass  much  of  my  time,  very  distant  from  Monticello. 
I  am  quite  astonished  at  the  idea  which  seems  to  have  got  abroad  ; 
that  I  propose  publishing  something  on  the  subject  of  religion, 
and  this  is  said  to  have  arisen  from  a  letter  of  mine  to  my  friend 
Charles  Thompson,  in  which  certainly  there  is  no  trace  of  such 
an  idea.  When  we  see  religion  split  into  so  many  thousand  of 
sects,  and  I  may  say  Christianity  itself  divided  into  it's  thousands 
also,  who  are  disputing,  anathematizing  and  where  the  laws  per 
mit  burning  and  torturing  one  another  for  abstractions  which 
no  one  of  them  understand,  and  which  are  indeed  beyond  the 
comprehension  of  the  human  mind,  into  which  of  the  chambers 
of  this  Bedlam  would  a  \torn\  man  wish  to  thrust  himself.  The 
sum  of  all  religion  as  expressed  by  it's  best  preacher,  '  fear  god 
and  love  thy  neighbor  '  contains  no  mystery,  needs  no  explana 
tion.  But  this  wont  do.  It  gives  no  scope  to  make  dupes  ; 
priests  could  not  live  by  it.  Your  idea  of  the  moral  obligations 
of  governments  are  perfectly  correct.  The  man  who  is  dishonest 
as  a  statesman  would  be  a  dishonest  man  in  any  station.  It  is 
strangely  absurd  to  suppose  that  a  million  of  human  beings  col 
lected  together  are  not  under  the  same  moral  laws  which  bind 
each  of  them  separately.  It  is  a  great  consolation  to  me  that 
our  government,  as  it  cherishes  most  it 's  duties  to  its  own  citi 
zens,  so  is  it  the  most  exact  in  it's  moral  conduct  towards  other 
nations.  I  do  not  believe  that  in  the  four  administrations  which 
have  taken  place,  there  has  been  a  single  instance  of  departure 
from  good  faith  towards  other  nations.  We  may  sometimes  have 
mistaken  our  rights,  or  made  an  erroneous  estimate  of  the  ac 
tions  of  others,  but  no  voluntary  wrong  can  be  imputed  to  us. 


In  this  respect  England  exhibits  the  most  remarkable  phaenom- 
enon  in  the  universe  in  the  contrast  between  the  profligacy  of 
it's  government  and  the  probity  of  it's  citizens.  And  accord 
ingly  it  is  now  exhibiting  an  example  of  the  truth  of  the  maxim 
that  virtue  &  interest  are  inseparable.  It  ends,  as  might  have 
been  expected,  in  the  ruin  of  it's  people,  but  this  ruin  will  fall 
heaviest,  as  it  ought  to  fall  on  that  hereditary  aristocracy  which 
has  for  generations  been  preparing  the  catastrophe.  I  hope  we 
shall  take  warning  from  the  example  and  crush  in  it's  birth  the 
aristocracy  of  our  monied  corporations  which  dare  already  to 
challenge  our  government  to  a  trial  of  strength  and  bid  defiance 
to  the  laws  of  our  country.  Present  me  respectfully  to  Mrs. 
Logan  and  accept  yourself  my  friendly  and  respectful  salutations. 


MONTICELLO,  January  n,  1817. 

I  owe  you,  dear  Madam,  a  thousand  thanks  for  the 
letters  communicated  in  your  favor  of  December  i5th, 
and  now  returned.  They  give  me  more  information 
than  I  possessed  before,  of  the  family  of  Mr.  Tracy. 
But  what  is  infinitely  interesting,  is  the  scene  of  the 
exchange  of  Louis  XVIII.  for  Bonaparte.  What 
lessons  of  wisdom  Mr.  Adams  must  have  read  in  that 
short  space  of  time  !  More  than  fall  to  the  lot  of 
others  in  the  course  of  a  long  life.  Man,  and  the 
man  of  Paris,  under  those  circumstances,  must  have 
been  a  subject  of  profound  speculation  !  It  would  be 
a  singular  addition  to  that  spectacle,  to  see  the  same 
beast  in  the  cage  of  St.  Helena,  like  a  lion  in  the 
tower.  That  is  probably  the  closing  verse  of  the 
chapter  of  his  crimes.  But  not  so  with  Louis.  He 
has  other  vicissitudes  to  go  through. 

70  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

I  communicated  the  letters,  according  to  your  per 
mission,  to  my  grand-daughter,  Ellen  Randolph,  who 
read  them  with  pleasure  and  edification.  She  is 
justly  sensible  of,  and  flattered  by  your  kind  notice 
of  her  ;  and  additionally  so,  by  the  favorable  recollec 
tions  of  our  northern  visiting  friends.  If  Monticello 
has  anything  which  has  merited  their  remembrance, 
it  gives  it  a  value  the  more  in  our  estimation  ;  and 
could  I,  in  the  spirit  of  your  wish,  count  backwards  a 
score  of  years,  it  would  not  be  long  before  Ellen  and 
myself  would  pay  our  homage  personally  to  Quincy. 
But  those  twenty  years!  Alas!  where  are  they? 
With  those  beyond  the  flood.  Our  next  meeting 
must  then  be  in  the  country  to  which  they  have 
flown, — a  country  for  us  not  now  very  distant.  For 
this  journey  we  shall  need  neither  gold  nor  silver  in 
our  purse,  nor  scrip,  nor  coats,  nor  staves.  Nor  is 
the  provision  for  it  more  easy  than  the  preparation 
has  been  kind.  Nothing  proves  more  than  this,  that 
the  Being  who  presides  over  the  world  is  essentially 
benevolent.  Stealing  from  us,  one  by  one,  the  facul 
ties  of  enjoyment,  searing  our  sensibilities,  leading  us, 
like  the  horse  in  his  mill,  round  and  round  the  same 
beaten  circle, 

To  see  what  we  have  seen, 

To  taste  the  tasted,  and  at  each  return 
Less  tasteful  ;  o'er  our  palates  to  decant 
Another  vintage — 

Until  satiated  and  fatigued  with  this  leaden  iteration, 
we  ask  our  own  conge.  I  heard  once  a  very  old 
friend,  who  had  troubled  himself  with  neither  poets 

1817]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  71 

nor  philosophers,  say  the  same  thing  in  plain  prose, 
that  he  was  tired  of  pulling  off  his  shoes  and  stock 
ings  at  night,  and  putting  them  on  again  in  the 
morning.  The  wish  to  stay  here  is  thus  gradually 
extinguished  ;  but  not  so  easily  that  of  returning, 
once  in  awhile,  to  see  how  things  have  gone  on. 
Perhaps,  however,  one  of  the  elements  of  future  felic 
ity  is  to  be  a  constant  and  unimpassioned  view  of 
what  is  passing  here.  If  so,  this  may  well  supply  the 
wish  of  occasional  visits.  Mercier  has  given  us  a 
vision  of  the  year  2440 ;  but  prophecy  is  one  thing, 
and  history  another.  On  the  whole,  however,  per 
haps  it  is  wise  and  well  to  be  contented  with  the 
good  things  which  the  master  of  the  feast  places  be 
fore  us,  and  to  be  thankful  for  what  we  have,  rather 
than  thoughtful  about  what  we  have  not.  You  and 
I,  dear  Madam,  have  already  had  more  than  an  ordi 
nary  portion  of  life,  and  more,  too,  of  health  than  the 
general  measure.  On  this  score  I  owe  boundless 
thankfulness.  Your  health  was,  some  time  ago,  not 
so  good  as  it  has  been  ;  and  I  perceive  in  the  letters 
communicated,  some  complaints  still.  I  hope  it  is 
restored  ;  and  that  life  and  health  may  be  continued 
to  you  as  many  years  as  yourself  shall  wish,  is  the 
sincere  prayer  of  your  affectionate  and  respectful 


MONTICELLO,  January  n,  1817. 

DEAR  SIR, — Forty-three  volumes  read  in  one  year,  and  twelve 
of  them  quarto  !     Dear  Sir,  how  I  envy  you  !     Half  a  dozen  oc- 

72  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

tavos  in  that  space  of  time,  are  as  much  as  I  am  allowed.  I  can 
read  by  candlelight  only,  and  stealing  long  hours  from  my  rest ; 
nor  would  that  time  be  indulged  to  me,  could  I  by  that  light  see 
to  write.  From  sunrise  to  one  or  two  o'clock,  and  often  from 
dinner  to  dark,  I  am  drudging  at  the  writing  table.  And  all  this 
to  answer  letters  into  which  neither  interest  nor  inclination  on 
my  part  enters  ;  and  often  from  persons  whose  names  I  have 
never  before  heard.  Yet,  writing  civilly,  it  is  hard  to  refuse 
them  civil  answers.  This  is  the  burthen  of  my  life,  a  very 
grievous  one  indeed,  and  one  which  I  must  get  rid  of.  Dela- 
plaine  lately  requested  me  to  give  him  a  line  on  the  subject  of  his 
book  ;  meaning,  as  I  well  knew,  to  publish  it.  This  I  constantly 
refuse  ;  but  in  this  instance  yielded,  that  in  saying  a  word  for 
him,  I  might  say  two  for  myself.  I  expressed  in  it  freely  my  suf 
ferings  from  this  source  ;  hoping  it  would  have  the  effect  of  an 
indirect  appeal  to  the  discretion  of  those,  strangers  and  others, 
who,  in  the  most  friendly  dispositions,  oppress  me  with  their  con 
cerns,  their  pursuits,  their  projects,  inventions  and  speculations, 
political,  moral,  religious,  mechanical,  mathematical,  historical, 
&c.,  &c.,  &c.  I  hope  the  appeal  will  bring  me  relief,  and  that 
I  shall  be  left  to  exercise  and  enjoy  correspondence  with  the 
friends  I  love,  and  on  subjects  which  they,  or  my  own  inclina 
tions  present.  In  that  case,  your  letters  shall  not  be  so  long  on 
my  files  unanswered,  as  sometimes  they  have  been,  to  my  great 

To  advert  now  to  the  subjects  of  those  of  December  the  i2th 
and  i6th.  Tracy's  Commentaries  on  Montesquieu  have  never 
been  published  in  the  original.  Duane  printed  a  translation  from 
the  original  manuscript  a  few  years  ago.  It  sold,  I  believe, 
readily,  and  whether  a  copy  can  now  be  had,  I  doubt.  If  it  can, 
you  will  receive  it  from  my  bookseller  in  Philadelphia,  to  whom 
I  now  write  for  that  purpose.  Tracy  comprehends,  under  the 
word  "  Ideology,"  all  the  subjects  which  the  French  term  Morale, 
as  the  correlative  to  Physique.  His  works  on  Logic,  Govern 
ment,  Political  Economy  and  Morality,  he  considers  as  making 
up  the  circle  of  ideological  subjects,  or  of  those  which  are  within 
the  scope  of  the  understanding,  and  not  of  the  senses.  His 
Logic  occupies  exactly  the  ground  of  Locke's  work  on  the  Un- 

1817]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  73 

derstanding.  The  translation  of  that  on  Political  Economy 
is  now  printing ;  but  it  is  no  translation  of  mine.  I  have  only 
had  the  correction  of  it,  which  was,  indeed,  very  laborious.  Le 
premier  jet  having  been  by  some  one  who  understood  neither 
French  nor  English,  it  was  impossible  to  make  it  more  than 
faithful.  But  it  is  a  valuable  work. 

The  result  of  your  fifty  or  sixty  years  of  religious  reading,  in 
the  four  words,  "  Be  just  and  good,"  is  that  in  which  all  our  in 
quiries  must  end  ;  as  the  riddles  of  all  the  priesthoods  end  in  four 
more,  "  ubi flam's,  ibi  deus."  What  all  agree  in,  is  probably  right. 
What  no  two  agree  in,  most  probably  wrong.  One  of  our  fan- 
coloring  biographers,  who  paints  small  men  as  very  great,  inquired 
of  me  lately,  with  real  affection  too,  whether  he  might  consider  as 
authentic,  the  change  of  my  religion  much  spoken  of  in  some  cir 
cles.  Now  this  supposed  that  they  knew  what  had  been  my 
religion  before,  taking  for  it  the  word  of  their  priests,  whom  I 
certainly  never  made  the  confidants  of  my  creed.  My  answer 
was,  "say  nothing  of  my  religion.  It  is  known  to  my  God  and 
myself  alone.  Its  evidence  before  the  world  is  to  be  sought  in 
my  life  ;  if  that  has  been  honest  and 'dutiful 'to  society,  the  religion 
which  has  regulated  it  cannot  be  a  bad  one."  Affectionately 


MONTICELLO,  Jan.  26,  17. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  read  with  great  satisfaction  the  eloquent 
pamphlet  you  were  so  kind  as  to  send  me,  and  sympathise  with 
every  line  of  it.  I  was  once  a  doubter  whether  the  labor  of  the 
Cultivator,  aided  by  the  creative  powers  of  the  earth  itself,  would 
not  produce  more  value  than  that  of  the  manufacturer,  alone  and 
unassisted  by  the  dead  subject  on  which  he  acted  ?  In  other 
words,  whether  the  more  we  could  bring  into  action  of  the  ener 
gies  of  our  boundless  territory,  in  addition  to  the  labor  of  our  citi 
zens,  the  more  would  not  be  our  gain  ?  But  the  inventions  of 
latter  times,  by  labor-saving  machines,  do  as  much  now  for  the 
manufacturer,  as  the  earth  for  the  cultivator.  Experience  too  has 
proved  that  mine  was  but  half  the  question.  The  other  half  is 

74  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

whether  Dollars  &  cents  are  to  be  weighed  in  the  scale  against 
real  independence  ?  The  whole  question  then  is  solved  ;  at  least 
so  far  as  respects  our  wants. 

I  much  fear  the  effect  on  our  infant  establishments,  of  the  pol 
icy  avowed  by  Mr.  Brougham,  and  quoted  in  the  pamphlet. 
Individual  British  merchants  may  lose  by  the  late  immense  im 
portations  ;  but  British  commerce  &  manufactures,  in  the  mass, 
will  gain  by  beating  down  the  competition  of  ours,  in  our  own 
markets  against  this  policy,  our  protecting  duties  are  as  noth 
ing,  our  patriotism  less.  I  turn,  however,  with  some  confidence 
to  a  different  auxiliary,  a  revolution  in  England,  now,  1  believe 
unavoidable.  '1  he  crisis  so  long  expected,  inevitable  as  death, 
altho'  uncertain  like  that  in  it's  date,  is  at  length  arrived.  Their 
government  has  acted  over  again  the  fable  of  the  frog  and  the 
ox  ;  and  their  bloated  system  has  burst.  They  have  spent  the 
fee  simple  of  the  island  in  their  inflated  enterprises  on  the  peace 
and  happiness  of  the  rest  of  mankind.  Their  debts  have  conse 
quently  accumulated  by  their  follies  &  frauds,  until  the  interest 
is  equal  to  the  aggregate  rents  of  all  the  farms  in  their  country*. 
All  these  rents  must  go  to  pay  interest,  and  nothing  remains  to 
carry  on  the  government.  The  possession  alone  of  their  lands  is 
now  in  the  nominal  owner  ;  the  usufruct  in  the  public  creditors. 
Their  people  too  taxed  up  to  14.  or  15.  out  of  16.  hours  of  daily 
labor,  dying  of  hunger  in  the  streets  &  fields.  The  survivors  can 
see  for  themselves  the  alternative  only  of  following  them  or  of 
abolishing  their  present  government  of  kings,  lords,  &  borough- 
commons,  and  establishing  one  in  some  other  form,  which  will  let 
them  live  in  peace  with  the  world.  It  is  not  easy  to  foresee  the 
details  of  such  a  revolution,  but  I  should  not  wonder  to  see  the 
deportation  of  their  king  to  Indostan,  and  of  their  Prince  Regent 
to  Botany  Bay.  There,  imbecility  might  be  governed  by  imbecility, 
and  vice  by  vice  ;  all  in  suit.  Our  wish  for  the  good  of  the  peo 
ple  of  England,  as  well  as  for  our  own  peace,  should  be  that  they 
may  be  able  to  form  for  themselves  such  a  constitution  &  govern 
ment  as  may  permit  them  to  enjoy  the  fruits  of  their  own  labors  in 
peace,  instead  of  squandering  them  in  fomenting  and  paying 
the  wars  of  the  world.  But  during  these  struggles,  their  artists 
are  to  become  soldiers.  Their  manufactures  to  cease,  their  com- 

1817"!  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  75 

merce  sink  and  our  intercourse  with  them  be  suspended.  This 
interval  of  suspension  may  revive  and  fix  our  manufactures,  wean 
us  from  British  aperies,  and  give  us  a  national  &  independent 
character  of  our  own.  I  cannot  say  that  all  this  will  be,  but  that 
it  may  be  ;  and  it  ought  to  be  supplicated  from  heaven  by  the 
prayers  of  the  whole  world  that  at  length  there  may  be  '  on  earth 
peace,  and  good  will  towards  men.'  No  country,  more  than  your 
native  one,  ought  to  pray  &  be  prepared  for  this.  I  wish  them 
success,  and  to  yourself  health  and  prosperity. 


MONTICELLO,  Janry.  29,  1817. 

MY  VERY  DEAR  &  ANTIENT  FRIEND, — I  learnt 
from  your  last  letter,  with  much  affliction,  the  severe 
and  singular  attack,  your  health  has  lately  sustained, 
but  its  equally  singular  and  sudden  restoration  con 
firms  my  confidence  in  the  strength  of  your  constitu 
tion  of  body  and  mind  and  my  conclusions  that 
neither  has  received  hurt,  and  that  you  are  still  ours 
for  a  long  time  to  come.  We  have  both  much  to  be 
thankful  for  in  the  soundness  of  our  physical  organi 
zation,  and  something  for  self  approbation  in  the 
order  and  regularity  of  life  by  which  it  has  been  pre 
served.  Your  preceding  letter  had  given  me  no  cause 
to  doubt  the  continued  strength  of  your  mind,  and 
were  it  not  that  I  am  always  peculiarly  gratified  by 
hearing  from  you,  I  should  regret  you  had  thought 
the  incident  with  Mr.  Delaplaine  worth  an  explana 
tion.  He  wrote  me  on  the  subject  of  my  letter  to 
you  of  Janry.  9,  1816,  and  asked  me  questions  which 
I  answer  only  to  one  Being.  To  himself,  therefore, 
I  replied  :  "  Say  nothing  of  my  Religion  :  it  is  known 

1  From  Collections  of  the  N.  Y.  Historical  Society,  p.  267. 

7  6  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

to  my  God  and  myself  alone  ;  its  evidence  before  the 
world  is  to  be  sought  in  my  life  ;  if  that  has  been 
honest  and  dutiful  to  society  the  Religion  which  has 
regulated  it  cannot  be  a  bad  one."  It  is  a  singular 
anxiety  which  some  people  have  that  we  should  all 
think  alike.  Would  the  world  be  more  beautiful  were 
all  our  faces  alike  ?  were  our  tempers,  our  talents,  our 
tastes,  our  forms,  our  wishes,  aversions  and  pursuits 
cast  exactly  in  the  same  mould  ?  If  no  varieties  ex 
isted  in  the  animal,  vegetable  or  mineral  creation,  but 
all  move  strictly  uniform,  catholic  &  orthodox,  what 
a  world  of  physical  and  moral  monotony  would  it  be  ! 
These  are  the  absurdities  into  which  those  run  who 
usurp  the  throne  of  God  and  dictate  to  Him  what 
He  should  have  done.  May  they  with  all  their 
metaphysical  riddles  appear  before  that  tribunal  with 
as  clean  hands  and  hearts  as  you  and  I  shall.  There, 
suspended  in  the  scales  of  eternal  justice,  faith  and 
works  will  show  their  worth  by  their  weight.  God 
bless  you  and  preserve  you  long  in  life  &  health. 


MONTICELLO,  February  8,  1817. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  January  ad  did  not  come  to  my 
hands  until  the  5th  instant.  I  concur  entirely  in  your  leading 
principles  of  gradual  emancipation,  of  establishment  on  the  coast 
of  Africa,  and  the  patronage  of  our  nation  until  the  emigrants 
shall  be  able  to  protect  themselves.  The  subordinate  details 
might  be  easily  arranged.  But  the  bare  proposition  of  purchase 
by  the  United  States  generally,  would  excite  infinite  indignation 
in  all  the  States  north  of  Maryland.  The  sacrifice  must  fall  on 
the  States  alone  which  hold  them  ;  and  the  difficult  question  will 

1817]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  77 

be  how  to  lessen  this  so  as  to  reconcile  our  fellow  citizens  to  it. 
Personally  I  am  ready  and  desirous  to  make  any  sacrifice  which 
shall  ensure  their  gradual  but  complete  retirement  from  the  State, 
and  effectually,  at  the  same  time,  establish  them  elsewhere  in  free 
dom  and  safety.  But  I  have  not  perceived  the  growth  of  this 
disposition  in  the  rising  generation,  of  which  I  once  had  sanguine 
hopes.  No  symptoms  inform  me  that  it  will  take  place  in  my 
day.  I  leave  it,  therefore,  to  time,  and  not  at  all  without  hope 
that  the  day  will  come,  equally  desirable  and  welcome  to  us  as  to 
them.  Perhaps  the  proposition  now  on  the  carpet  at  Washington 
to  provide  an  establishment  on  the  coast  of  Africa  for  voluntary 
emigrations  of  people  of  color,  may  be  the  corner  stone  of  this 
future  edifice.  Praying  for  its  completion  as  early  as  may  most 
promote  the  good  of  all,  I  salute  you  with  great  esteem  and 


MONTICEI.LO,  Mar.  16.  17. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  learn  with  real  concern  that  the  editor  of  the 
Theological  Repository  possesses  the  name  of  the  author  of  the 
Syllabus,  altho  he  coyly  withholds  it  for  the  present,  he  will  need 
but  a  little  coaxing  to  give  it  out  and  to  let  lose  upon  him  the 
genus  irretabile  vatum,  there  and  here.  Be  it  so.  I  shall  receive 
with  folded  arms  all  their  hacking  &  hewing.  I  shall  not  ask 
their  passport  to  a  country,  which  they  claim  indeed  as  theirs  but 
which  was  made,  I  trust,  for  moral  man,  and  not  for  dogmatising 
venal  jugglers.  Should  they  however,  instead  of  abuse,  appeal  to 
the  tribunal  of  reason  and  fact,  I  shall  really  be  glad  to  see  on 
what  point  they  will  begin  their  attack.  For  it  expressly  excludes 
all  questions  of  supernatural  character  or  endowment.  I  am  in 
hopes  it  may  find  advocates  as  well  as  opposers,  and  produce  for 
us  a  temperate  &  full  development.  As  to  myself  I  shall  be  a 
silent  Auditor. 

Mr.  Adams's  book  on  Feudal  law,  mentioned  in  your  letter  of 
Feb  :  2.  I  possessed,  and  it  is  now  in  the  library  at  Washington 
which  I  ceded  to  Congress.  In  the  same  letter  you  ask  if  I  can 
explain  the  phrase  '  il  est  digne  de  porter  le  ruban  gris  de  lin.'  I 

78  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

do  not  know  that  I  can.  gris  de  lin  is  the  French  designation  of 
the  colour  which  the  English  call  grizzle.  The  ruban  gris  de  lin 
may  be  the  badge  of  some  association,  unknown,  I  acknowledge  to 
me,  but  to  which  the  author  from  whom  you  quote  it  may  have 
some  allusion.  I  shall  be  happy  to  learn  that  you  pursue  your 
purpose  as  to  the  life  of  the  great  reformer,  and  more  so  in  seeing 
it  accomplished.  I  return  the  Repository  with  thanks  for  the 
opportunity  of  seeing  it,  and  I  pray  you  accept  my  friendly  and 
respectful  salutations.1 

'Jefferson  further  wrote  to  Van  der  Kemp  : 

MCNTICF.LLO,  May  i.  17. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  thank  you  for  your  letter  of  Mar.  3O/  My  mind  is  entirely 
relieved  by  your  assurance  that  my  name  did  not  cross  the  Atlantic  in  connection 
with  the  Syllabus.  The  suggestion  then  of  the  Editor  of  the  Theological  Reposi 
tory  was  like  those  of  our  newspaper  editors  who  pretend  they  know  every 
thing,  but  in  discretion  will  not  tell  us,  while  we  see  that  they  give  us  all  they 
know  and  a  great  deal  more.  I  am  now  at  the  age  of  quietism,  and  wish  not 
to  be  kicked  by  the  asses  of  hierophantism.  I  hope  you  will  find  time  to  take 
up  this  subject.  There  are  some  new  publications  in  Germany  which  would 
greatly  aid  it,  to  wit, 

Augusti's  translation  &  commentary  on  the  7.  Catholic  epistles,  in  which  he 
has  thrown  great  light  on  the  opinions  of  the  primitive  Christians  &  on  the 
innovations  of  St.  Paul,  printed  at  Lemgo  1808.  2.  vols.  8vo. 

Palmer's  Paul  and  Gamaliel.     Giessen.     1806. 

Munter's  history  of  dogmas.  Gottingen.  1806.  shewing  the  formation  of 
the  dogmatical  system  of  Christianity. 

Augusti's  Manual  of  the  history  of  Christian  dogmas.     Leipsic  1805. 

Marteinacke's  Manual  of  Ecclesiastical  history.  Erlangen  1806.  developing 
the  simple  ideas  of  the  first  Christians,  and  the  causes  &  progress  of  the  subse. 
quent  changes. 

I  have  not  written  for  these  books,  because  I  suppose  they  are  in  German 
which  I  do  not  read  ;  but  I  expect  they  are  profoundly  learned  on  their  subjects. 

In  answer  to  your  inquiries  respecting  Rienzi,  the  best  account  I  have  met 
with  of  this  poor  counterfeit  of  the  Gracchi,  who  seems  to  have  had  enthusiasm 
&  eloquence,  without  either  wisdom  or  firmness,  is  the  5th  &  6th  vols.  of 
Sigismondi.  He  quotes  for  his  authority  chiefly  the  Frammenti  de  Storia 
Romana  d'anonimo  contemporaneo.  Of  the  monk  Borselaro  I  know  nothing, 
and  my  books  are  all  gone  to  where  they  will  be  more  useful,  &  my  memory 
waning  under  the  hand  of  time.  I  think  Bekker  might  have  demanded  a  truce 
from  his  antagonists  on  the  question  of  a  Hall,  by  desiring  them  first  to  fix  it's 
geography.  But  wherever  it  be,  it  is  certainly  the  best  patrimony  of  the  church, 
and  procures  them  in  exchange  the  solid  acres  of  this  world.  I  salute  you  with 
entire  esteem  &  respect. 

1817]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  79 


MONTICELLO,  May  2,  '17. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  am  indebted  to  you  for  your  favor  of  Apr.  22, 
and  for  the  copy  of  the  Agricultural  magazine  it  covered,  which 
is  indeed  a  very  useful  work.  While  I  was  an  amateur  in  Agri 
cultural  science  (for  practical  knolege  my  course  of  life  never 
permitted  me)  I  was  very  partial  to  the  drilled  husbandry  of  Tull, 
and  thought  still  better  of  it  when  reformed  by  Young  to  12  rows. 
But  I  had  not  time  to  try  it  while  young,  and  now  grown  old  I 
have  not  the  requisite  activity  either  of  body  or  mind. 

With  respect  to  field  culture  of  vegetables  for  cattle,  instead  of 
the  carrot  and  potato  recommended  by  yourself  and  the  magazine, 
&  the  best  of  others,  we  find  the  Jerusalem  artichoke  best  for 
winter,  &  the  Succory  for  Summer  use.  This  last  was  brought 
over  from  France  to  England  by  Arthur  Young,  as  you  will  see  in 
his  travels  thro'  France,  &  some  of  the  seed  sent  by  him  to  Genl. 
Washington,  who  spared  me  a  part  of  it.  It  is  as  productive  as 
the  Lucerne,  without  its  laborious  culture,  &  indeed  without  any 
culture  except  the  keeping  it  clean  the  first  year.  The  Jerusalem 
artichoke  far  exceeds  the  potato  in  produce,  and  remains  in  the 
ground  thro'  the  winter  to  be  dug  as  wanted.  A  method  of 
ploughing  over  hill  sides  horizontally,  introduced  into  the  most 
hilly  part  of  our  country  by  Colo.  T.  M.  Randolph,  my  son  in  law, 
may  be  worth  mentioning  to  you.  He  has  practised  it  a  dozen  or 
15  years,  and  it's  advantages  were  so  immediately  observed  that 
it  has  already  become  very  general,  and  has  entirely  changed  and 
renovated  the  face  of  our  country.  Every  rain,  before  that,  while 
it  gave  a  temporary  refreshment,  did  permanent  evil  by  carrying 
off  our  soil :  and  fields  were  no  sooner  cleared  than  wasted.  At 
present  we  may  say  that  we  lose  none  of  our  soil,  the  rain  not  ab 
sorbed  in  the  moment  of  it's  fall  being  retained  in  the  hollows  be 
tween  the  beds  until  it  can  be  absorbed.  Our  practice  is  when 
we  first  enter  on  this  process,  with  a  rafter  level  of  10  f.  span,  to 
lay  off  guide  lines  conducted  horizontally  around  the  hill  or  valley 
from  one  end  to  the  other  of  the  field,  and  about  30  yards  apart. 

1  From  a  copy  courteously  furnished  by  Mr.  Chester  A.  Stoddard,  of  Boston, 

8o  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

The  steps  of  the  level  on  the  ground  are  marked  by  a  stroke  of  a 
hoe,  and  immediately  followed  by  a  plough  to  preserve  the  trace. 
A  man  or  a  lad,  with  the  level,  and  two  small  boys,  the  one  with 
sticks,  the  other  with  the  hoe,  will  do  an  acre  of  this  in  an  hour, 
and  when  once  done  it  is  forever  done.  We  generally  level  a 
field  the  year  it  is  put  into  Indian  corn  laying  it  into  beds  of  6  ft. 
wide,  with  a  large  water  furrow  between  the  beds,  until  all  the 
fields  have  been  once  leveled.  The  intermediate  furrows  are  run 
by  the  eye  of  the  ploughman  governed  by  these  guide  lines,  &  oc 
casion  gores  which  are  thrown  into  short  beds.  As  in  ploughing 
very  steep  hill  sides  horizontally  the  common  ploughman  can 
scarcely  throw  the  furrow  uphill,  Colo.  Randolph  has  contrived  a 
very  simple  alteration  of  the  share,  which  throws  the  furrow  down 
hill  both  going  and  coming.  It  is  as  if  two  shares  were  welded 
together  at  their  straight  side,  and  at  a  right  angle  with  each 
other.  This  turns  on  it's  bar  as  on  a  pivot,  so  as  to  lay  either 
share  horizontal,  when  the  other  becoming  verticle  acts  as  a  mould 
board.  This  is  done  by  the  ploughman  in  an  instant  by  a  single 
motion  of  the  hand,  at  the  end  of  every  furrow.  I  enclose  a  bit 
of  paper  cut  into  the  form  of  the  double  share,  which  being 
opened  at  the  fold  to  a  right  angle,  will  give  an  idea  of  it's  gen 
eral  principle.  Horizontal  and  deep  ploughing,  with  the  use  of 
plaister  and  clover,  which  are  but  beginning  to  be  used  here  will, 
as  we  believe,  restore  this  part  of  our  country  to  it's  original  fer 
tility,  which  was  exceeded  by  no  upland  in  the  state.  Believing 
that  some  of  these  things  might  be  acceptable  to  you  I  have 
hazarded  them  as  testimonials  of  my  great  esteem  &  respect. 


MONTICELLO  [May  ?  1817.] 

DEAR  SIR,—    *    *    * 

I  suppose  that  your  friends  of  Boston  furnish  you  with  our  do 
mestic  news.  Improvement  is  now  the  general  word  with  us. 
Canals,  roads,  education  occupy  principal  attention.  A  bill  which 
had  passed  both  houses  of  Congress  for  beginning  these  works, 
was  negatived  by  the  President,  on  constitutional,  and  I  believe, 

1817]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  81 

sound  grounds  ;  that  instrument  not  having  placed  this  among 
the  enumerated  objects  to  which  they  are  authorized  to  apply  the 
public  contributions.  He  recommended  an  application  to  the 
states  for  an  extension  of  their  powers  to  this  object,  which  will  I 
believe  be  unanimously  conceded,  &  will  be  a  better  way  of  ob 
taining  the  end,  than  by  strained  constructions,  which  would 
loosen  all  the  bands  of  the  constitution.  In  the  mean  time  the 
states  separately  are  going  on  with  this  work.  New  York  is  un 
dertaking  the  most  gigantic  enterprise  of  uniting  the  waters  of  L. 
Erie  and  the  Hudson  ;  Jersey  those  of  the  Delaware  &  Raritan. 
This  state  proposes  several  such  works  ;  but  most  particularly 
has  applied  itself  to  establishments  for  education,  by  taking  up 
the  plan  I  proposed  to  them  40.  years  ago,  which  you  will  see 
explained  in  the  Notes  on  Virginia.  They  have  provided  for 
this  special  object  an  ample  fund,  and  a  growing  one.  They  pro 
pose  an  elementary  school  in  every  ward  or  township,  for  reading, 
writing  and  common  arithmetic  ;  a  college  in  every  district,  sup 
pose  of  80.  or  100.  miles  square,  for  laying  the  foundations  of  the 
sciences  in  general,  to  wit,  languages,  geography  &  the  higher 
branches  of  Arithmetic  ;  and  a  single  University  embracing  every 
science  deemed  useful  in  the  present  state  of  the  world.  This 
last  may  very  possibly  be  placed  near  Charlottesville,  which  you 
know  is  under  view  from  Monticello. 

Amid  these  enlarged  measures,  the  papers  tell  us  of  one  by  the 
legislature  of  New  York,  so  much  in  the  opposite  direction  that  it 
would  puzzle  us  to  say  in  what,  the  darkest  age  of  the  history  of 
bigotry  and  barbarism,  we  should  find  an  apt  place  for  it.  It  is 
said  they  have  declared  by  law  that  all  those  who  hereafter  shall 
join  in  communion  with  the  religious  sect  of  Shaking  quakers, 
shall  be  deemed  civilly  dead,  their  marriage  vows  dissolved,  and 
all  their  children  and  property  taken  from  them  ;  without  any 
provision  for  rehabilitation  in  case  of  resipiscence.  To  prove 
that  this  departure  from  the  spirit  of  our  institutions  is  local  and 
I  hope  merely  momentary,  Pennsylvania  about  the  same  time,  re 
jected  a  proposition  to  make  the  belief  in  a  god  a  necessary  quali 
fication  for  office,  altho'  I  presume  there  was  not  an  Atheist  in 
their  body  :  and"  I  dare  say  you  have  heard  that  when  the  law  for 
freedom  of  religion  was  before  the  Virginia  legislature  in  which 

VOL.  X.— 6 

82  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

the  phrase '  the  author  of  our  holy  religion  '  happened  to  be  they 
rejected  a  proposition  to  prefix  to  it  the  name  of  'Jesus  Christ,' 
altho  certainly  a  great  majority  of  them  considered  him  as  such. 
Yet  they  would  not  undertake  to  say  that  for  every  one.  The 
New  York  law  is  so  recent  that  nothing  has  yet  been  said  about 
it,  &  I  do  imagine  if  it  has  been  past,  their  next  legislature  will 
repeal  it,  and  make  an  amende  honorable  to  the  general  spirit  of 
their  confederates.  Nothing  having  yet  appeared  but  the  naked 
act,  without  signature,  or  a  word  of  the  history  of  it's  passage, 
there  is  room  to  hope  it  has  been  merely  an  abortive  attempt. 

Of  the  Volcanic  state  of  Europe  I  know  little,  and  will  say 
nothing,  and  add  to  the  length  of  this,  for  myself  &  the  individ 
uals  of  my  family,  who  remember  you  with  particular  friendship, 
the  assurances  of  the  highest  esteem  and  respect. 

June  6.  1817.  P.  S.  the  preceding  written  some  time  ago,  is 
now  only  despatched. 


MONTICELLO,  May  14,  1817. 

Although,  dear  Sir,  much  retired  from  the  world, 
and  meddling  little  in  its  concerns,  yet  I  think  it  al 
most  a  religious  duty  to  salute  at  times  my  old  friends, 
were  it  only  to  say  and  to  know  that  "  all 's  well." 
Our  hobby  has  been  politics  ;  but  all  here  is  so  quiet, 
and  with  you  so  desperate,  that  little  matter  is  fur 
nished  us  for  active  attention.  With  you  too,  it  has 
long  been  forbidden  ground,  and  therefore  imprudent 
for  a  foreign  friend  to  tread,  in  writing  to  you.  But 
although  our  speculations  might  be  intrusive,  our 
prayers  cannot  but  be  acceptable,  and  mine  are  sin 
cerely  offered  for  the  well-being  of  France.  What 
government  she  can  bear,  depends  not  on  the  state 
of  science,  however  exalted,  in  a  select  band  of  en- 

1817]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  83 

lightened  men,  but  on  the  condition  of  the  general 
mind.  That,  I  am  sure,  is  advanced  and  will  advance  ; 
and  the  last  change  of  government  was  fortunate,  in 
asmuch  as  the  new  will  be  less  obstructive  to  the 
effects  of  that  advancement.  For  I  consider  your 
foreign  military  oppressions  as  an  ephemeral  obstacle 

Here  all  is  quiet.  The  British  war  has  left  us  in 
debt ;  but  that  is  a  cheap  price  for  the  good  it  has 
done  us.  The  establishment  of  the  necessary  manu 
factures  among  ourselves,  the  proof  that  our  govern 
ment  is  solid,  can  stand  the  shock  of  war,  and  is 
superior  even  to  civil  schism,  are  precious  facts  for 
us  ;  and  of  these  the  strongest  proofs  were  furnished, 
when,  with  four  eastern  States  tied  to  us,  as  dead  to 
living  bodies,  all  doubt  was  removed  as  to  the  achieve 
ments  of  the  war,  had  it  continued.  But  its  best  ef 
fect  has  been  the  complete  suppression  of  party.  The 
federalists  who  were  truly  American,  and  their  great 
mass  was  so,  have  separated  from  their  brethren  who 
were  mere  Anglomen,  and  are  received  with  cordiality 
into  the  republican  ranks.  Even  Connecticut,  as  a 
State,  and  the  last  one  expected  to  yield  its  steady 
habits  (which  were  essentially  bigoted  in  politics  as 
well  as  religion),  has  chosen  a  republican  governor, 
and  republican  legislature.  Massachusetts  indeed 
still  lags  ;  because  most  deeply  involved  in  the  parri 
cide  crimes  and  treasons  of  the  war.  But  her  gan 
grene  is  contracting,  the  sound  flesh  advancing  on  it, 
and  all  there  will  be  well.  I  mentioned  Connecticut 
as  the  most  hopeless  of  our  States.  Little  Delaware 

84  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

had  escaped  my  attention.  That  is  essentially  a 
Quaker  State,  the  fragment  of  a  religious  sect  which, 
there,  in  the  other  States,  in  England,  are  a  homo 
geneous  mass,  acting  with  one  mind,  and  that  directed 
by  the  mother  society  in  England.  Dispersed,  as  the 
Jews,  they  still  form,  as  those  do,  one  nation,  foreign 
to  the  land  they  live  in.  They  are  Protestant  Jesuits, 
implicitly  devoted  to  the  will  of  their  superior,  and 
forgetting  all  duties  to  their  country  in  the  execution 
of  the  policy  of  their  order.  When  war  is  proposed 
with  England,  they  have  religious  scruples  ;  but 
when  with  France,  these  are  laid  by,  and  they  become 
clamorous  for  it.  They  are,  however,  silent,  passive, 
and  give  no  other  trouble  than  of  whipping  them 
along.  Nor  is  the  election  of  Monroe  an  inefficient 
circumstance  in  our  felicities.  Four  and  twenty  years, 
which  he  will  accomplish,  of  administration  in  repub 
lican  forms  and  principles,  will  so  consecrate  them  in 
the  eyes  of  the  people  as  to  secure  them  against  the 
danger  of  change.  The  evanition  of  party  dissensions 
has  harmonized  intercourse,  and  sweetened  society 
beyond  imagination.  The  war  then  has  done  us  all 
this  good,  and  the  further  one  of  assuring  the  world, 
that  although  attached  to  peace  from  a  sense  of  its 
blessings,  we  will  meet  war  when  it  is  made  necessary. 
I  wish  I  could  give  better  hopes  of  our  southern 
brethren.  The  achievement  of  their  independence  of 
Spain  is  no  longer  a  question.  But  it  is  a  very  seri 
ous  one,  what  will  then  become  of  them  ?  Ignorance 
and  bigotry,  like  other  insanities,  are  incapable  of 
self-government.  They  will  fall  under  military  des- 

1817]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  85 

potism,  and  become  the  murderous  tools  of  the  ambi 
tion  of  their  respective  Bonapartes  ;  and  whether  this 
will  be  for  their  greater  happiness,  the  rule  of  one 
only  has  taught  you  to  judge.  No  one,  I  hope,  can 
doubt  my  wish  to  see  them  and  all  mankind  exer 
cising  self-government,  and  capable  of  exercising  it. 
But  the  question  is  not  what  we  wish,  but  what  is 
practicable  ?  As  their  sincere  friend  and  brother 
then,  I  do  believe  the  best  thing  for  them,  would  be 
for  themselves  to  come  to  an  accord  with  Spain,  un 
der  the  guarantee  of  France,  Russia,  Holland,  and 
the  United  States,  allowing  to  Spain  a  nominal  su 
premacy,  with  authority  only  to  keep  the  peace  among 
them,  leaving  them  otherwise  all  the  powers  of  self- 
government,  until  their  experience  in  them,  their 
emancipation  from  their  priests,  and  advancement  in 
information,  shall  prepare  them  for  complete  inde 
pendence.  I  exclude  England  from  this  confederacy, 
because  her  selfish  principles  render  her  incapable  of 
honorable  patronage  or  disinterested  co-operation  ; 
unless,  indeed,  what  seems  now  probable,  a  revolu 
tion  should  restore  to  her  an  honest  government,  one 
which  will  permit  the  world  to  live  in  peace.  Portu 
gal,  grasping  at  an  extension  of  her  dominion  in  the 
south,  has  lost  her  great  northern  province  of  Per- 
nambuco,  and  I  shall  not  wonder  if  Brazil  should  re 
volt  in  mass,  and  send  their  royal  family  back  to 
Portugal.  Brazil  is  more  populous,  more  wealthy, 
more  energetic,  and  as  wise  as  Portugal.  I  have 
been  insensibly  led,  my  dear  friend,  while  writing  to 
you,  to  indulge  in  that  line  of  sentiment  in  which  we 

86  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

have  been  always  associated,  forgetting  that  these 
are  matters  not  belonging  to  my  time.  Not  so  with 
you,  who  have  still  many  years  to  be  a  spectator  of 
these  events.  That  these  years  may  indeed  be  many 
and  happy,  is  the  sincere  prayer  of  your  affectionate 


MONTICELLO  June  10.  17. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  am  detaining  from  the  Philosophical  society 
their  copy  of  Colo.  Byrd's  journal,  until  I  can  learn  whether  I 
may  be  permitted  to  send  with  it  also  the  supplementary  one  of 
which  I  obtained  the  loan  thro'  your  favor.  Will  you  be  so  good 
as  to  favor  me  with  the  name  of  the  person  to  whom  it  belongs, 
that  I  may  sollicit  the  permission  without  troubling  you  ? 

Does  your  new  bank  propose  to  do  any  business  with  country 
people  ?  I  have  been  in  the  habit  of  asking  small  accommoda 
tions  occasionally  from  the  Virginia  bank  where  I  had  for  some 
time  past  a  note  of  2000  D.  The  disastrous  corn-crop  of  the  last 
year  &  the  excessive  price  of  that  article  obliged  me  to  apply  to 
them  lately  for  an  additional  2000  D.  to  be  indulged  until  the 
present  crop  should  furnish  new  resources.  They  readily  fur 
nished  the  sum,  but  said  the  rules  established  for  some  time  to 
come  would  forbid  them  to  renew  it  at  the  expiration  of  the  60. 
days.  Mr.  Gibson,  my  correspondent  &  endorser  advised  me  to 
enquire  in  time  whether  I  could  be  enabled  by  the  US.  bank 
to  take  up  the  note  when  due,  under  a  prospect  of  it's  renewal 
for  some  months.  Will  you  be  so  good  as  to  inform  me  on  this 
subject  ?  Your  friends  in  our  vicinity  are  all  well.  I  salute  you 
with  friendship  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  June  12,  1817. 

SIR, — Your  favor  of  May  2oth  has  been  received  some  time 
since,  but   the    increasing  inertness  of  age  renders  me  slow  in 

1817]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  87 

obeying  the  calls  of  the  writing-table,  and  less  equal  than  I  have 
been  to  its  labors. 

My  opinion  on  the  right  of  Expatriation  has  been,  so  long  ago 
as  the  year  1776,  consigned  to  record  in  the  act  of  the  Virginia 
code,  drawn  by  myself,  recognizing  the  right  expressly,  and  pre 
scribing  the  mode  of  exercising  it.  The  evidence  of  this  natural 
right,  like  that  of  our  right  to  life,  liberty,  the  use  of  our  facul 
ties,  the  pursuit  of  happiness,  is  not  left  to  the  feeble  and  sophis 
tical  investigations  of  reason,  but  is  impressed  on  the  sense  of 
every  man.  We  do  not  claim  these  under  the  charters  of  kings 
or  legislators,  but  under  the  King  of  kings.  If  he  has  made  it 
a  law  in  the  nature  of  man  to  pursue  his  own  happiness,  he  has 
left  him  free  in  the  choice  of  place  as  well  as  mode  ;  and  we 
may  safely  call  on  the  whole  body  of  English  jurists  to  produce 
the  map  on  which  Nature  has  traced,  for  each  individual,  the 
geographical  line  which  she  forbids  him  to  cross  in  pursuit  of 
happiness.  It  certainly  does  not  exist  in  his  mind.  Where, 
then,  is  it  ?  I  believe,  too,  I  might  safely  affirm,  that  there  is 
not  another  nation,  civilized  or  savage,  which  has  ever  denied 
this  natural  right.  I  doubt  if  there  is  another  which  refuses  its 
exercise.  I  know  it  is  allowed  in  some  of  the  most  respectable 
countries  of  continental  Europe,  nor  have  I  ever  heard  of  one  in 
which  it  was  not.  How  it  is  among  our  savage  neighbors,  who 
have  no  law  but  that  of  Nature,  we  all  know. 

Though  long  estranged  from  legal  reading  and  reasoning,  and 
little  familiar  with  the  decisions  of  particular  judges,  I  have  con 
sidered  that  respecting  the  obligation  of  the  common  law  in  this 
country  as  a  very  plain  one,  and  merely  a  question  of  document. 
If  we  are  under  that  law,  the  document  which  made  us  so  can 
surely  be  produced  ;  and  as  far  as  this  can  be  produced,  so  far  we 
are  subject  to  it,  and  farther  we  are  not.  Most  of  the  States  did, 
I  believe,  at  an  early  period  of  their  legislation,  adopt  the  English 
law,  common  and  statute,  more  or  less  in  a  body,  as  far  as  locali 
ties  admitted  of  their  application.  In  these  States,  then,  the 
common  law,  so  far  as  adopted,  is  the  lex-loci.  Then  comes  the 
law  of  Congress,  declaring  that  what  is  law  in  any  State,  shall 
be  the  rule  of  decision  in  their  courts,  as  to  matters  arising  within 
that  State,  except  when  controlled  by  their  own  statutes.  But 

88  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

this  law  of  Congress  has  been  considered  as  extending  to  civil 
cases  only  ;  and  that  no  such  provision  has  been  made  for  crim 
inal  ones.  A  similar  provision,  then,  for  criminal  offences,  would, 
in  like  manner,  be  an  adoption  of  more  or  less  of  the  common 
law,  as  part  of  the  lex-loci,  where  the  offence  is  committed  ;  and 
would  cover  the  whole  field  of  legislation  for  the  general  gov 
ernment.  I  have  turned  to  the  passage  you  refer  to  in  Judge 
Cooper's  Justinian,  and  should  suppose  the  general  expressions 
there  used  would  admit  of  modifications  conformable  to  this 
doctrine.  It  would  alarm  me  indeed,  in  any  case,  to  find  my 
self  entertaining  an  opinion  different  from  that  of  a  judgment  so 
accurately  organized  as  his.  But  I  am  quite  persuaded  that, 
whenever  Judge  Cooper  shall  be  led  to  consider  that  question 
simply  and  nakedly,  it  is  so  much  within  his  course  of  thinking, 
as  liberal  as  logical,  that,  rejecting  all  blind  and  undefined  obliga 
tion,  he  will  hold  to  the  positive  and  explicit  precepts  of  the  law 
alone.  Accept  these  hasty  sentiments  on  the  subjects  you  pro 
pose,  as  hazarded  in  proof  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  June  13,  1817. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  receipt  of  your  Distributio  Geographica 
Plantarum,  with  the  duty  of  thanking  you  for  a  work  which 
sheds  so  much  new  and  valuable  light  on  botanical  science,  ex 
cites  the  desire,  also,  of  presenting  myself  to  your  recollection, 
and  of  expressing  to  you  those  sentiments  of  high  admiration 
and  esteem,  which,  although  long  silent,  have  never  slept.  The 
physical  information  you  have  given  us  of  a  country  hitherto  so 
shamefully  unknown,  has  come  exactly  in  time  to  guide  our 
understandings  in  the  great  political  revolution  now  bringing  it 
into  prominence  on  the  stage  of  the  world.  The  issue  of  its  strug 
gles,  as  they  respect  Spain,  is  no  longer  matter  of  doubt.  As  it 
respects  their  own  liberty,  peace  and  happiness,  we  cannot  be 
quite  so  certain.  Whether  the  blinds  of  bigotry,  the  shackles 
of  the  priesthood,  and  the  fascinating  glare  of  rank  and  wealth, 
give  fair  play  to  the  common  sense  of  the  mass  of  their  people, 

1817]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  89 

so  far  as  to  qualify  them  for  self-government,  is  what  we  do  not 
know.  Perhaps  our  wishes  may  be  stronger  than  our  hopes. 
The  first  principle  of  republicanism  is,  that  the  lex-majoris  partis 
is  the  fundamental  law  of  every  society  of  individuals  of  equal 
rights  ;  to  consider  the  will  of  the  society  enounced  by  the  ma 
jority  of  a  single  vote,  as  sacred  as  if  unanimous,  is  the  first  of 
all  lessons  in  importance,  yet  the  last  which  is  thoroughly  learnt. 
This  law  once  disregarded,  no  other  remains  but  that  of  force, 
which  ends  necessarily  in  military  despotism.  This  has  been 
the  history  of  the  French  revolution,  and  I  wish  the  understand 
ing  of  our  Southern  brethren  may  be  sufficiently  enlarged  and 
firm  to  see  that  their  fate  depends  on  its  sacred  observance. 

In  our  America  we  are  turning  to  public  improvements. 
Schools,  roads,  and  canals,  are  everywhere  either  in  operation  or 
contemplation.  The  most  gigantic  undertaking  yet  proposed,  is 
that  of  New  York,  for  drawing  the  waters  of  Lake  Erie  into  the 
Hudson.  The  distance  is  353  miles,  and  the  height  to  be  sur 
mounted  66 1  feet.  The  expense  will  be  great,  but  its  effect 
incalculably  powerful  in  favor  of  the  Atlantic  States.  Internal 
navigation  by  steamboats  is  rapidly  spreading  through  all  our 
States,  and  that  by  sails  and  oars  will  ere  long  be  looked  back  to 
as  among  the  curiosities  of  antiquity.  We  count  much,  too,  on 
its  efficacy  for  harbor  defence  ;  and  it  will  soon  be  tried  for  nav 
igation  by  sea.  We  consider  the  employment  of  the  contribu 
tions  which  our  citizens  can  spare,  after  feeding,  and  clothing, 
and  lodging  themselves  comfortably,  as  more  useful,  more  moral, 
and  even  more  splendid,  than  that  preferred  by  Europe,  of 
destroying  human  life,  labor  and  happiness. 

I  write  this  letter  without  knowing  where  it  will  find  you. 
But  wherever  that  may  be,  I  am  sure  it  will  find  you  engaged  in 
something  instructive  for  man.  If  at  Paris,  you  are  of  course  in 
habits  of  society  with  Mr.  Gallatin,  our  worthy,  our  able,  and  ex 
cellent  minister,  who  will  give  you,  from  time  to  time,  the  de 
tails  of  the  progress  of  a  country  in  whose  prosperity  you  are  so 
good  as  to  feel  an  interest,  and  in  which  your  name  is  revered 
among  those  of  the  great  worthies  of  the  world.  God  bless  you, 
and  preserve  you  long  to  enjoy  the  gratitude  of  your  fellow  men, 
and  to  be  blessed  with  honors,  health  and  happiness. 

9o  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 


MONTICELLO,    June  16,  1817. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  importance  that  the  enclosed  letters  should 
safely  reach  their  destination,  impels  me  to  avail  myself  of  the 
protection  of  your  cover.  This  is  an  inconvenience  to  which 
your  situation  exposes  you,  while  it  adds  to  the  opportunities  of 
exercising  yourself  in  works  of  charity. 

According  to  the  opinion  I  hazarded  to  you  a  little  before  your 
departure,  we  have  had  almost  an  entire  change  in  the  body  of 
Congress.  The  unpopularity  of  the  compensaiion  law  was  com 
pleted,  by  the  manner  of  repealing  it  as  to  all  the  world  except 
themselves.  In  some  States,  it  is  said,  every  member  is  changed  ; 
in  all,  many.  What  opposition  there  was  to  the  original  law, 
was  chiefly  from  southern  members.  Yet  many  of  those  have 
been  left  out,  because  they  received  the  advanced  wages.  I 
have  never  known  so  unanimous  a  sentiment  of  disapprobation  ; 
and  what  is  remarkable  is,  that  it  was  spontaneous.  The  news 
papers  were  almost  entirely  silent,  and  the  people  not  only  unled 
by  their  leaders,  but  in  opposition  to  them.  I  confess  I  was 
highly  pleased  with  this  proof  of  the  innate  good  sense,  the  vigi 
lance,  and  the  determination  of  the  people  to  act  for  them 

Among  the  laws  of  the  late  Congress,  some  were  of  note  ;  a 
navigation  act,  particularly,  applicable  to  those  nations  only  who 
have  navigation  acts  ;  pinching  one  of  them  especially,  not  only 
in  the  general  way,  but  in  the  intercourse  with  her  foreign  pos 
sessions.  This  part  may  re-act  on  us,  and  it  remains  for  trial 
which  may  bear  longest.  A  law  respecting  our  conduct  as  a 
neutral  between  Spain  and  her  contending  colonies,  was  passed 
by  a  majority  of  one  only,  I  believe,  and  against  the  very  general 
sentiment  of  our  country.  It  is  thought  to  strain  our  complai 
sance  to  Spain  beyond  her  right  or  merit,  and  almost  against 
the  right  of  the  party,  and  certainly  against  the  claims  they 
have  to  our  good  wishes  and  neighborly  relations.  That  we 
should  wish  to  see  the  people  of  other  countries  free,  is  as  natural, 
and  at  least  as  justifiable,  as  that  one  King  should  wish  to  see  the 
Kings  of  other  countries  maintained  in  their  despotism.  Right 

1817]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  91 

to  both  parties,  innocent  favor  to  the  juster  cause,  is  our  proper 

You  will  have  learned  that  an  act  for  internal  improvement, 
after  passing  both  Houses,  was  negatived  by  the  President.  The 
act  was  founded,  avowedly,  on  the  principle  that  the  phrase  in 
the  constitution  which  authorizes  Congress  "  to  lay  taxes,  to  pay 
the  debts  and  provide  for  the  general  welfare,"  was  an  extension 
of  the  powers  specifically  enumerated  to  whatever  would  promote 
the  general  welfare  ;  and  this,  you  know,  was  the  federal  doc 
trine.  Whereas,  our  tenet  ever  was,  and,  indeed,  it  is  almost  the 
only  landmark  which  now  divides  the  federalists  from  the  re 
publicans,  that  Congress  had  not  unlimited  powers  t6  provide  for 
the  general  welfare,  but  were  restrained  to  those  specifically  enu 
merated  ;  and  that,  as  it  was  never  meant  they  should  provide 
for  that  welfare  but  by  the  exercise  of  the  enumerated  powers, 
so  it  could  not  have  been  meant  they  should  raise  money  for  pur 
poses  which  the  enumeration  did  not  place  under  their  action  ; 
consequently,  that  the  specification  of  powers  is  a  limitation  of 
the  purposes  for  which  they  may  raise  money.  I  think  the  pas 
sage  and  rejection  of  this  bill  a  fortunate  incident.  Every  State 
will  certainly  concede  the  power  ;  and  this  will  be  a  national 
confirmation  of  the  grounds  of  appeal  to  them,  and  will  settle 
forever  the  meaning  of  this  phrase,  which,  by  a  mere  grammati 
cal  quibble,  has  countenanced  the  General  Government  in  a 
claim  of  universal  power.  For  in  the  phrase,  "  to  lay  taxes,  to 
pay  the  debts  and  provide  for  the  general  welfare,"  it  is  a  mere 
question  of  syntax,  whether  the  two  last  infinitives  are  governed 
by  the  first  or  are  distinct  and  co-ordinate  powers  ;  a  question 
unequivocally  decided  by  the  exact  definition  of  powers  imme 
diately  following.  It  is  fortunate  for  another  reason,  as  the 
States,  in  conceding  the  power,  will  modify  it,  either  by  requir 
ing  the  federal  ratio  of  expense  in  each  State,  or  otherwise,  so 
as  to  secure  us  against  its  partial  exercise.  Without  this  caution, 
intrigue,  negotiation,  and  the  barter  of  votes  might  become  as 
habitual  in  Cong'ress,  as  they  are  in  those  legislatures  which  have 
the  appointment  of  officers,  and  which,  with  us,  is  called  "  log 
ging,"  the  term  of  the  farmers  for  their  exchanges  of  aid  in  roll 
ing  together  the  logs  of  their  newly-cleared  grounds.  Three  of 

92  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

our  papers  have  presented  us  the  copy  of  an  act  of  the  legislature 
of  New  York,  which,  if  it  has  really  passed,  will  carry  us  back 
to  the  times  of  the  darkest  bigotry  and  barbarism,  to  find  a  paral 
lel.  Its  purport  is,  that  all  those  who  shall  hereafter  join  in 
communion  with  the  religious  sect  of  Shaking  Quakers,  shall  be 
deemed  civilly  dead,  their  marriages  dissolved,  and  all  their  child 
ren  and  property  taken  out  of  their  hands.  This  act  being  pub 
lished  nakedly  in  the  papers,  without  the  usual  signatures,  or  any 
history  of  the  circumstances  of  its  passage,  I  am  not  without  a 
hope  it  may  have  been  a  mere  abortive  attempt.  It  contrasts 
singularly  with  a  cotemporary  vote  of  the  Pennsylvania  legisla 
ture,  who,  on  a  proposition  to  make  the  belief  in  God  a  neces 
sary  qualification  for  office,  rejected  it  by  a  great  majority, 
although  assuredly  there  was  not  a  single  atheist  in  their  body. 
And  you  remember  to  have  heard,  that  when  the  act  for  religious 
freedom  was  before  the  Virginia  Assembly,  a  motion  to  insert  the 
name  of  Jesus  Christ  before  the  phrase,  "  the  author  of  our  holy 
religion,"  which  stood  in  the  bill,  was  rejected,  although  that 
was  the  creed  of  a  great  majority  of  them. 

I  have  been  charmed  to  see  that  a  Presidential  election  now 
produces  scarcely  any  agitation.  On  Mr.  Madison's  election  there 
was  little,  on  Monroe's  all  but  none.  In  Mr.  Adams'  time  and 
mine,  parties  were  so  nearly  balanced  as  to  make  the  struggle 
fearful  for  our  peace.  But  since  the  decided  ascendency  of  the 
republican  body,  federalism  has  looked  on  with  silent  but  unre 
sisting  anguish.  In  the  middle,  southern  and  western  States,  it 
is  as  low  as  it  ever  can  be  ;  for  nature  has  made  some  men  mon 
archists  and  tories  by  their  constitution,  and  some,  of  course, 
there  always  will  be. 


POPLAR  FOREST,  July  12,  17. 

DEAR  SIR, — This  is  the  only  fair  day  since  you 
were  here,  &  being  to  depart  to-morrow,  I  must  em 
ploy  it  otherwise  than  in  paying  the  visit  I  had  in- 

i8i?l  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  93 

tended  you.     I  shall  be  back  however  within  3  weeks 
and  have  time  then  to  render  the  double. 

In  the  mean  while  as  your  Paul  is  desirous  of  lay 
ing  up  useful  things  in  the  storehouse  of  his  mind,  I 
send  him  a  little  bundle  of  canons  of  conduct  which 
may  merit  a  shelf  after  the  one  occupied  by  the 
Decalogue  of  first  authority.  If  he  will  get  them  by 
heart,  occasions  will  not  be  wanting  for  their  useful 
application.  You  can  furnish  him  also  with  another 
decad,  and  regulating  his  life  by  this  code  of  practice 
it  may  bring  pleasure  and  profit  to  himself,  and  praise 
from  others.  Wishing  pleasure,  profit,  and  praise  to 
him,  to  you  and  yours,  I  salute  you  with  constant 
friendship  and  respect.1 



Your  letter  of  the  6th  inst.  is  delivered  to  me  at  this  place  with 
an  extract  from  the  Franklin  Republican  of   July  29.  in  these 

1  Th.  Jefferson  to  Paul  Clay. 
"  I.  Never  spend  your  money  before  you  have  it. 

2.  Never  buy  what  you  don't  want,  because  it  is  cheap  :  it  will  be  dear  to 

3.  Pride  costs  more  than  hunger,  thirst  and  cold. 

4.  Never  put  off  till  to-morrow  what  you  can  do  to-day. 

5.  Never  trouble  another  for  what  you  can  do  yourself. 

6.  Think   as   you   please   and   let  others  do   so  :   you   will   then  have  no 

7.  How  much  pain  have  cost  us  the  things  which  have  never  happened. 

8.  Take  things  always  by  their  smooth  handle. 

9.  When  angry  count  10.  before  you  speak.     If  very  angry  100. 

10.  When  at  table,  remember  that  we  never  repent  of  having  eaten  or  drunk 
too  little. 

Haec  animo  concipe  dicta  tuo  et  vale." 

94  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1817 

words.  'Extract  of  a  letter  from  Virginia.  July  13.  1817.  The 
day  before  yesterday  I  was  at  Monticello,  &  had  the  gratification 
to  hear  the  chief  of  the  elevated  group  there  (Mr.  Jefferson)  ex 
press  his  anxious  wish  for  the  success  of  the  democratic  republican 
gubernatorial  candidate  in  Pensylvania — As  he  says  he  has  no 
opinion  of  tool  or  turnabout  politicians  just  to  serve  their  oiun  ag 
grandisement'  Now  I  declare  to  you,  Gentlemen,  on  my  honor 
that  I  never  expressed  a  sentiment,  or  uttered  a  syllable  to  any 
mortal  living  on  the  subject  of  the  election  referred  to  in  this 
extract.  It  is  one  into  which  I  have  never  permitted  even  my 
wishes  to  enter,  entertaining  as  I  do  a  high  respect  for  both  the 
characters  in  competition,  and  not  doubting  that  the  state  of 
Pensylvania  will  be  happier  under  the  government  of  either.  If 
any  further  proof  of  the  falsehood  of  this  letter  writer  were 
required,  it  would  be  found  in  the  fact  that  on  the  nth  of  July, 
when  he  pretends  to  have  seen  me  at  Monticello,  &  to  have  been 
entrusted  by  me  with  expressions  so  highly  condemnable,  I  was 
at  this  place  90  miles  South  West  of  that,  attending  to  my  harvest 
here.  I  had  left  Monticello  on  the  29th  of  June,  &  did  not  return 
to  it  until  the  i5th  of  July.  The  facts  of  my  absence  from  the 
one  place,  &  presence  at  the  other,  at  that  date,  are  well  known 
to  many  inhabitants  of  the  town  of  Charlottesville  near  the  one,  & 
of  Lynchburg  near  the  other  place. 

I  am  duly  sensible  of  the  sentiments  of  respect  with  which  you 
are  pleased  to  honor  me  in  your  letter,  as  I  am  also  of  those  con- 
concerning  myself  in  the  resolutions  of  the  respectable  Com 
mittee  of  the  New  market  ward,  who  have  been  led  into  error 
by  this  very  false  letter  writer.  These,  I  trust,  will  not  be  less 
ened  on  either  side  by  my  assurance  that,  considering  this  as  a 
family  question  I  do  not  allow  myself  to  take  any  part  in  it,  and 
the  less  as  the  issue  either  way  cannot  be  unfavorable  to  repub 
lican  government.  I  tender  to  both  parties  sincere  sentiments 
of  esteem  &  respect.  


DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  Aug.  14.  was  delivered  to  me  as  I 
was  setting  out  for  the  distant  possession  from  which  I  now  write, 

1817]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  95 

&  to  which  I  pay  frequent  &  long  visits.  On  my  arrival  here  I 
make  it  my  first  duty  to  write  the  letter  you  request  to  Mr.  Erv- 
ing,  and  to  in  close  itin  this  under  cover  to  your  father  that  you 
may  get  it  in  time.  My  letters  are  always  letters  of  thanks  be 
cause  you  are  always  furnishing  occasion  for  them.  I  am  very 
glad  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  make  the  alteration  you  mention 
in  the  Herodotus  &  Livy  I  had  asked  from  the  Messrs.  Desbures. 
I  have  not  yet  heard  from  them,  but  daily  expect  to  do  so,  and  to 
learn  the  arrival  of  my  books.  I  shall  probably  send  them  an 
other  catalogue  early  in  spring  ;  every  supply  from  them  fur 
nishing  additional  materials  for  my  happiness. 

I  had  before  heard  of  the  military  ingredients  which  Bonaparte 
had  infused  into  all  the  schools  of  France,  but  have  never  so  well 
understood  them  as  from  your  letter.  The  penance  he  is  now 
doing  for  all  his  atrocities  must  be  soothing  to  every  virtuous 
heart.  It  proves  that  we  have  a  god  in  heaven.  That  he  is  just, 
and  not  careless  of  what  passes  in  this  world.  And  we  cannot 
but  wish  to  this  inhuman  wretch,  a  long,  long  life,  that  time  as 
well  as  intensity  may  fill  up  his  sufferings  to  the  measure  of  his 
enormities.  But  indeed  what  sufferings  can  atone  for  his  crimes 
against  the  liberties  &  happiness  of  the  human  race  ;  for  the  mis 
eries  he  has  already  inflicted  on  his  own  generation,  &  on  those 
yet  to  come,  on  whom  he  has  rivetted  the  chains  of  despotism  ! 

I  am  now  entirely  absorbed  in  endeavours  to  effect  the  estab 
lishment  of  a  general  system  of  education  in  my  native  state,  on 
the  triple  basis,  x,  of  elementary  schools  which  shall  give  to  the 
children  of  every  citizen  gratis,  competent  instruction  in  reading, 
writing,  common  arithmetic,  and  general  geography.  2.  Collegi 
ate  institutions  for  antient  &  modern  languages,  for  higher  instruc 
tion  in  arithmetic,  geography  &  history,  placing  for  these  purposes 
a  college  within  a  day's  ride  of  every  inhabitant  of  the  state,  and 
adding  a  provision  for  the  full  education  at  the  public  expence  of 
select  subjects'from  among  the  children  of  the  poor,  who  shall  have 
exhibited  at  the  elementary  schools  the  most  prominent  indica 
tions  of  aptness  of  judgment  &  correct  disposition.  3.  An  Uni 
versity  in  which  all  the  branches  of  science  deemed  useful  at  this 
day,  shall  be  taught  in  their  highest  degree.  This  would  probably 
require  ten  or  twelve  professors,  for  most  of  whom  we  shall  be 

96  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [i8i& 

obliged  to  apply  to  Europe,  and  most  likely  to  Edinburg,  because 
of  the  greater  advantage  the  students  will  receive  from  communi 
cations  made  in  their  native  language.  This  last  establishment 
will  probably  be  within  a  mile  of  Charlottesville,  and  four  from 
Monticello,  if  the  system  should  be  adopted  at  all  by  our  legisla 
ture  who  meet  within  a  week  from  this  time.  My  hopes  however 
are  kept  in  check  by  the  ordinary  character  of  our  state  legisla 
tures,  the  members  of  which  do  not  generally  possess  information 
enough  to  perceive  the  important  truths,  that  knolege  is  power, 
that  knolege  is  safety,  and  that  knolege  is  happiness. 

In  the  meantime,  and  in  case  of  failure  of  the  broader  plan,  we 
are  establishing  a  college  of  general  science,  at  the  same  situation 
near  Charlottesville,  the  scale  of  which,  of  necessity  will  be  much 
more  moderate,  as  resting  on  private  donations  only.  These 
amount  at  present  to  about  75,000  Dollars.  The  buildings  are 
begun,  and  by  midsummer  we  hope  to  have  two  or  three  profess 
orships  in  operation.  Would  to  god  we  could  have  two  or  three 
duplicates  of  yourself,  the  original  being  above  our  means  and 
hopes.  If  then  we  fail  in  doing  all  the  good  we  wish,  we  will  do 
at  least  all  we  can.  This  is  the  law  of  duty  in  every  society  of 
free  agents,  where  every  one  has  equal  right  to  judge  for  himself. 
God  bless  you,  and  give  to  the  means  of  benefiting  mankind 
which  you  will  bring  home  with  you,  all  the  success  your  high 
qualifications  ought  to  insure. 


MONTICELLO,  January  5,  1818. 

I  have  first  to  thank  you,  dear  Sir,  for  the  copy  of  your  late 
work  which  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me,  and  then  to 
render  you  double  congratulations,  first,  on  the  general  applause 
it  has  so  justly  received,  and  next  on  the  public  testimony  of 
esteem  for  its  author,  manifested  by  your  late  call  to  the  execu 
tive  councils  of  the  nation.  All  this  I  do  heartily,  and  then  pro 
ceed  to  a  case  of  business  on  which  you  will  have  to  advise  the 
government  on  the  threshold  of  your  office.  You  have  seen  the 

i8i8]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  97 

death  of  General  Kosciusko  announced  in  the  papers  in  such  a 
way  as  not  to  be  doubted.  He  had  in  the  funds  of  the  United 
States  a  very  considerable  sum  of  money,  on  the  interest  of 
which  he  depended  for  subsistence.  On  his  leaving  the  United 
States,  in  1798,  he  placed  it  under  my  direction  by  a  power  of 
attorney,  which  I  executed  entirely  through  Mr.  Barnes,  who 
regularly  remitted  his  interest.  But  he  left  also  in  my  hands  an 
autograph  will,  disposing  of  his  funds  in  a  particular  course  of 
charity,  and  making  me  his  executor.  The  question  the  govern 
ment  will  ask  of  you,  and  which  I  therefore  ask,  is  in  what  court 
must  this  will  be  proved,  and  my  qualification  as  executor  be  re 
ceived,  to  justify  the  United  States  in  placing  these  funds  under 
the  trust  ?  This  is  to  be  executed  wholly  in  this  State,  and  will 
occupy  so  long  a  course  of  time  beyond  what  I  can  expect  to 
live,  that  I  think  to  propose  to  place  it  under  the  Court  of  Chan 
cery.  The  place  of  probate  generally  follows  the  residence  of 
the  testator.  That  was  in  a  foreign  country  in  the  present  case. 
Sometimes  the  bona  notabilia.  The  evidences  or  representations 
of  these  (the  certificates)  are  in  my  hands.  The  things  repre 
sented  (the  money)  in  those  of  the  United  States.  But  where 
are  the  United  States  ?  Everywhere,  I  suppose,  where  they  have 
government  or  property  liable  to  the  demand  on  payment.  That 
is  to  say,  in  every  State  of  the  Union,  in  this,  for  example,  as 
well  as  any  other,  strengthened  by  the  circumstances  of  the  de 
posit  of  the  will,  the  residence  of  the  executor,  and  the  place 
where  the  trust  is  to  be  executed.  In  no  instance,  I  believe, 
does  the  mere  habitation  of  the  debtor  draw  to  it  the  place  of 
probate,  and  if  it  did,  the  United  States  are  omnipresent  by  their 
functionaries,  as  well  as  property  in  every  State  of  the  Union.  I 
am  led  by  these  considerations  to  suppose  our  district  or  general 
court  competent  to  the  object  ;  but  you  know  best,  and  by  your 
advice,  sanctioned  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  I  shall  act. 
I  write  to  the  Secretary  on  this  subject.  If  our  district  court  will 
do,  I  can  attend  it  personally  ;  if  the  general  court  only  be  com 
petent,  I  am  in  hopes  it  will  find  means  of  dispensing  with  my 
personal  attendance.  I  salute  you  with  affectionate  esteem  and 


98  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1818 

TO    JOSEPH    C.    CABELL.1 

MONTICELLO,  Jan.  14,  1818. 

DEAR  SIR, — When  on  the  6th  inst.  I  was  answering  yours  of 
Dec.  29,  I  was  so  overwhelmed  with  letters  to  be  answered,  that  I 
could  not  take  time  to  notice  the  objection  stated,  "  that  it  was 
apprehended  that  neither  the  people,  nor  their  representatives, 
would  agree  to  the  plan  of  assessment  on  the  wards  for  the  ex 
penses  of  the  ward  schools."  I  suppose  that  this  is  meant  the 
"  pecuniary  expense  of  wages  to  the  tutor  "  ;  for,  as  to  what  the 
people  are  to  do,  or  to  contribute  in  kind,  every  one  who  knows 
the  situation  of  our  people  in  the  country,  knows  it  will  not  be 
felt.  The  building  the  long  houses  will  employ  the  laborers  of 
the  ward  three  or  four  days  in  every  20  years.  The  contributions 
for  subsistence,  if  averaged  on  the  families,  would  be  8  or  9  Ibs. 
of  pork,  and  a  half  a  bushel  of  corn  for  a  family  of  middling  cir 
cumstances — not  more  than  2  days  subsistence  of  the  family  and 
its  stock — and  less  in  proportion  as  it  could  spare  less.  There  is 
not  a  family  in  the  country  so  poor  as  to  feel  this  contribution. 
It  must  then  be  the  assessment  of  the  pecuniary  contribution 
which  is  thought  so  formidable  an  addition  to  the  property  tax 
we  now  pay  to  the  state  that  "  neither  the  people,  nor  their  repre 
sentatives  would  agree  to."  Now,  let  us  look  this  objection  in 
the  face,  and  bring  it  to  the  unerring  test  of  figures  ; — premising 
that  this  pecuniary  tax  is  to  be  of  150  dollars  on  a  ward. 

Not  possessing  the  documents  which  would  give  me  the  num 
bers  to  be  quoted,  correctly  to  a  unit,  I  shall  use  round  numbers, 
so  near  the  truth,  that  with  the  further  advantage  of  facilitating 
our  calculations  as  we  go  a  long,  they  will  make  no  sensible  error 
in  the  result.  I  will  proceed  therefore  on  the  following  postu 
lates,  and  on  the  ground  that  there  are  in  the  whole  state  100 
counties  and  cities. 

In  the  whole      In  every  county  on 

state.  an  average. 

The  free  white  inhabitants  of  all  ages  and 

sexes,  at  the  last  census  were 600,000  6,000 

The   number  of  militia  were  somewhere 

about 80,000  800 

1  From  Niles's  Register,  vol.  xiv.,  p.  174. 

i8i8]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  99 

In  the  whole      In  every  county  on 

state.  an  average. 

The  number  of  captain's  companies,  of  67 

each  would  be  about 1,200  12 

Free  white  inhabitants  for  every  militia 

company,  600,000-1200 500  oo 

The  tax  on  property  paid  to  the  state  is 

nearly 500,000  5,ooo 

Let  us  then  proceed  on  these  data,  to  compare  the  expense  of 
the  proposed  and  of  the  existing  system  of  primary  schools.  I 
have  always  supposed  that  the  wards  should  be  laid  off  as  to  com 
prehend  the  number  of  inhabitants  necessary  to  furnish  a  captains 
company  of  militia.  This  is  before  stated  at  500  persons  of  all 
ages  and  sexes.  From  the  tables  of  mortality  (Buff on *s)  we  find 
that  where  there  are  500  persons  of  all  ages  and  sexes,  there  will 
always  be  14  in  their  loth  year,  13  and  a  fraction  in  their  nth, 
and  13  in  their  i2th  year;  so  that  the  children  of  these  three 
years  (which  are  those  that  ought  to  be  devoted  to  the  elementary 
schools)  will  be  a  constant  number  of  40  ;  about  enough  to  occupy 
one  teacher  constantly.  His  wages  of  $150,  partitioned  on  these 
40,  make  their  teaching  cost  $3^-  a-piece,  annually.  If  we  reckon 
as  many  heads  of  families  in  a  ward  as  there  are  militia  (as  I 
think  we  may,  the  unmarried  militia  men  balancing,  in  numbers, 
the  married  and  unmarried  exempts)  $150  on  67  heads  of  families 
(if  levied  equally)  would  be  $2,24  on  each.  At  the  same  time 
the  property  tax  on  the  ward  being  $5000  :-i2,  or  $416,  and  that 
again  subdivided  on  67  heads  of  families  (if  it  were  levied  equally) 
would  be  $6,20  on  a  family  of  middling  circumstances,  the  tax 
which  it  now  pays  to  the  state.  So  that  to  $6,20,  the  present 
state  tax,  the  school  tax,  would  add  $2,24,  which  is  about  36  cents 
to  the  dollar,  or  one  third  to  the  present  property  tax  :  and  to  the 
whole  state  would  be  $150  X  1200  wards  equal  to  $180,000  of  tax 
added  to  the  present  $500,000. 

Now  let  us  see  what  the  present  primary  schools  cost  us,  on  the 
supposition  that  all  the  children  of  10,  n  and  12  years  old  are,  as 
they  ought  to  be,  at  school :  and  if  they  are  not,  so  much  the 
worse  is  the  system  :  for  they  will  be  untaught,  and  their  igno 
rance  and  vices  will,  in  future  life  cost  us  much  dearer  in  their 

ioo  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1818 

consequences,  than  it  would  have  done,  in  their  correction,  by  a 
good  education. 

I  am  here  at  a  loss  to  say  what  is  now  paid  to  our  English  ele 
mentary  schools,  generally,  through  the  state.  In  my  own  neigh 
borhood,  those  who  formerly  received  from  205  to  305  a  scholar, 
now  have  from  20  to  30  dollars  ;  and  having  no  other  informa 
tion  to  go  on,  I  must  use  my  own  numbers,  the  result  of  which, 
however,  will  be  easily  corrected,  and  accomodated  to  the  average 
price  through  the  state,  when  ascertained  ;  and  will  yet,  I  am  per 
suaded,  leave  abundance  of  difference  between  the  two  systems. 

Taking  a  medium  of  $25,  the  40  pupils  in  each  ward  now  cost 
$1000  a  year,  instead  of  $150,  or  $15  on  a  family,  instead  of  $2, 
24 ;  and  1200  wards  cost  to  the  whole  state  $1,200,000  of  tax,  in 
addition  to  the  present  $500,000  instead  of  $180,000  only  ;  pro 
ducing  a  difference  of  $1,020,000  in  favor  of  the  ward  system, 
more  than  doubling  the  present  tax,  instead  of  adding  one  third 
only,  and  should  the  price  of  tuition,  which  I  have  adopted  from 
that  in  my  own  neighborhood,  be  much  above  the  average  thro' 
the  state,  yet  no  probable  correction  will  bring  the  two  systems 
near  a  level. 

But  take  into  consideration,  also,  the  important  difference,  that 
the  $1,200,000  are  now  paid  by  the  people  as  a  poll  tax,  the  poor 
having  as  many  children  as  the  rich,  and  paying  the  whole  tuition 
money  themselves  ;  whereas,  on  the  proposed  ward  levies  the 
poor  man  would  pay  in  proportion  to  his  hut  and  peculium  only, 
which  the  rich  would  pay  on  their  palaces  and  principalities.  It 
cannot,  then  be  that  the  people  will  not  agree  to  have  their  tuition 
tax  lightened  by  levies  on  the  ward  rather  than  on  themselves ; 
and  as  little  believe  that  their  "  representatives  "  will  disagree  to 
it  ;  for  even  the  rich  will  pay  less  than  they  do  now.  The  por 
tion  of  the  $180,000,  which,  on  the  ward  system,  they  will  pay  for 
the  education  of  the  poor  as  well  as  of  their  own  children,  will  not 
be  as  much  as  they  now  pay  for  their  own  alone. 

And  will  the  wealthy  individual  have  no  retribution  ?  and  what 
will  this  be  ?  i.  The  peopling  his  neighborhood  with  honest, 
useful  and  enlightened  citizens,  understanding  their  own  rights 
and  firm  in  their  perpetuation.  2.  When  his  own  descendants 
became  poor,  which  they  generally  do  within  three  generations, 

i8i8]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  101 

(no  law  of  Primogeniture  now  perpetuating  wealth  in  the  same 
families)  their  children  will  be  educated  by  the  then  rich,  and  the 
little  advance  he  now  makes  to  poverty,  while  rich  himself,  will 
be  repaid  by  the  then  rich,  to  his  descendants  when  become  poor, 
and  thus  give  them  a  chance  of  rising  again.  This  is  a  solid  consid 
eration,  and  should  go  home  to  the  bosom  of  every  parent.  This 
will  be  seed  sowed  in  fertile  ground.  It  is  a  provision  for  his 
family  looking  to  distant  times,  and  far  in  duration  beyond  that 
he  has  now  in  hand  for  them.  Let  every  man  count  backwards 
in  his  own  family,  and  see  how  many  generations  he  can  go, 
before  he  comes  to  the  ancestor  who  made  the  fortune  he  now 
holds.  Most  will  be  stopped  at  the  first  generation,  many  at  the 
2d,  few  will  reach  the  third,  and  not  one  in  the  state  go  beyond 
the  5th. 

I  know  that  there  is  much  prejudice,  even  among  the  body  of 
the  people,  against  the  expense  and  even  the  practicability  of 
a  sufficient  establishment  of  elementary  schools,  but  I  think  it 
proceeds  from  vague  ideas  on  a  subject  they  have  never  brought 
to  the  test  of  facts  and  figures  ;  but  our  representatives  will 
fathom  its  depths,  and  the  people  could  and  would  do  the  same, 
if  the  facts  and  considerations  belonging  to  the  subject  were  pre 
sented  to  their  minds  and  their  subsequent  as  certainly  as  their 
previous  approbation,  would  be  secured. 

But  if  the  whole  expense  of  the  elementary  schools,  wages,  sub 
sistence  and  buildings  are  to  come  from  the  literary  fund,  and  if 
we  are  to  wait  until  that  fund  shall  be  accumulated  to  the  requi 
site  amount,  we  justly  fear  that  some  one  unlucky  legislature  will 
intervene  within  the  time,  charge  the  whole  appropriation  to  the 
lightening  of  taxes,  and  leave  us  where  we  now  are. 

There  is,  however,  an  intermediate  measure  which  might  bring 
the  two  plans  together.  If  the  literary  fund  be  of  one  and  a  half 
million  of  dollars,  take  the  half  million  for  the  colleges  and  uni 
versity,  it  will  establish  them  meagrely  and  make  a  deposite  of 
the  remaining  million.  Its  interest  of  $60,000  will  give  $50  a  year 
to  each  ward,  towards  the  teacher's  wages,  and  reduce  the  tax  to 
24  instead  of  36  cents  to  the  dollar  ;  and  as  the  literary  fund  con 
tinues  to  accumulate  give  one-third  of  the  increase  to  the  colleges 
and  university  and  two-thirds  to  the  ward  schools.  The  increas- 

102  THE  WRITINGS   OF  [1818 

ing  interest  of  this  last  portion  will  be  continually  lessening  the 
school  tax,  until  it  will  extinguish  it  altogether  ;  the  subsistence 
and  buildings  remaining  always  to  be  furnished  by  the  ward 
in  kind. 

A  system  of  general  instruction,  which  shall  reach  every  descrip 
tion  of  our  citizens  from  the  richest  to  the  poorest,  as  it  was  the 
earliest,  so  will  it  be  the  latest  of  all  the  public  concerns  in  which 
I  shall  permit  myself  to  take  an  interest.  Nor  am  I  tenacious  of 
the  form  in  which  it  shall  be  introduced.  Be  that  what  it  may, 
our  descendants  will  be  as  wise  as  we  are,  and  will  know  how  to 
amend  and  amend  it,  until  it  shall  suit  their  circumstances.  Give 
it  to  us,  then  in  any  shape,  and  receive  for  the  inestimable  boon 
the  thanks  of  the  young  and  the  blessings  of  the  old,  who  are  past 
all  other  services  but  prayers  for  the  prosperity  of  their  country 
and  blessings  for  those  who  promote  it. 


MONTICELLO,  March  3,  1818. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  just  received  your  favor  of  February  2oth, 
in  which  you  observe  that  Mr.  Wirt,  on  page  47  of  his  Life  of 
Patrick  Henry,  quotes  me  as  saying  that  "  Mr.  Henry  certainly 
gave  the  first  impulse  to  the  ball  of  revolution."  I  well  recollect 
to  have  used  some  such  expression  in  a  letter  to  him,  and  am  tol 
erably  certain  that  our  own  State  being  the  subject  under  contem 
plation,  I  must  have  used  it  with  respect  to  that  only.  Whether 
he  has  given  it  a  more  general  aspect  I  cannot  say,  as  the  pas 
sage  is  not  in  the  page  you  quote,  nor,  after  thumbing  over  much 
of  the  book,  have  I  been  able  to  find  it.1  In  page  417  there  is 
something  like  it,  but  not  the  exact  expression,  and  even  there  it 
may  be  doubted  whether  Mr.  Wirt  had  his  eye  on  Virginia  alone, 
or  on  all  the  colonies.  But  the  question,  who  commenced  the 
revolution  ?  is  as  difficult  as  that  of  the  first  inventors  of  a  thou 
sand  good  things.  For  example,  who  first  discovered  the  prin 
ciple  of  gravity  ?  Not  Newton  ;  for  Galileo,  who  died  the  year 

1  It  was  on  page  41. 

i8i8]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  103 

that  Newton  was  born,  had  measured  its  force  in  the  descent  of 
gravid  bodies.  Who  invented  the  Lavoiserian  chemistry  ?  The 
English  say  Dr.  Black,  by  the  preparatory  discovery  of  latent 
heat.  Who  invented  the  steamboat  ?  Was  it  Gerbert,  the  Mar 
quis  of  Worcester,  Newcomen,  Savary,  Papin,  Fitch,  Fulton  ? 
The  fact  is,  that  one  new  idea  leads  to  another,  that  to  a  third, 
and  so  on  through  a  course  of  time  until  some  one,  with  whom 
no  one  of  these  ideas  was  original,  combines  all  together,  and 
produces  what  is  justly  called  a  new  invention.  I  suppose  it 
would  be  as  difficult  to  trace  our  revolution  to  its  first  embryo. 
We  do  not  know  how  long  it  was  hatching  in  the  British  cabinet 
before  they  ventured  to  make  the  first  of  the  experiments  which 
were  to  develop  it  in  the  end  and  to  produce  complete  parliament 
ary  supremacy.  Those  you  mention  in  Massachusetts  as  preced 
ing  the  stamp  act,  might  be  the  first  visible  symptoms  of  that 
design.  The  proposition  of  that  act  in  1764,  was  the  first  here. 
Your  opposition,  therefore,  preceded  ours,  as  occasion  was  sooner 
given  there  than  here,  and  the  truth,  I  suppose,  is,  that  the  oppo 
sition  in  every  colony  began  whenever  the  encroachment  was 
presented  to  it.  This  question  of  priority  is  as  the  inquiry  would 
be  who  first,  of  the  three  hundred  Spartans,  offered  his  name  to 
Leonidas  ?  I  shall  be  happy  to  see  justice  done  to  the  merits  of 
all,  by  the  unexceptionable  umpirage  of  date  and  facts,  and  es 
pecially  from  the  pen  which  is  proposed  to  be  employed  in  it. 

I  rejoice,  indeed,  to  learn  from  you  that  Mr.  Adams  retains  the 
strength  of  his  memory,  his  faculties,  his  cheerfulness,  and  even 
his  epistolary  industry.  This  last  is  gone  from  me.  The  aver 
sion  has  been  growing  on  me  for  a  considerable  time,  and  now, 
near  the  close  of  seventy-five,  is  become  almost  insuperable.  I 
am  much  debilitated  in  body,  and  my  memory  sensibly  on  the 
wane.  Still,  however,  I  enjoy  good  health  and  spirits,  and  am 
as  industrious  a  reader  as  when  a  student  at  college.  Not  of 
newspapers.  These  I  have  discarded.  I  relinquish,  as  I  ought 
to  do,  all  intermeddling  with  public  affairs,  committing  myself 
cheerfully  to  the  watch  and  care  of  those  for  whom,  in  my  turn 
I  have  watched  and  cared.  When  I  contemplate  the  immense 
advances  in  science  and  discoveries  in  the  arts  which  have  been 
made  within  the  period  of  my  life,  I  look  forward  with  confi- 

104  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1818 

dence  to  equal  advances  by  the  present  generation,  and  have  no 
doubt  they  will  consequently  be  as  much  wiser  than  we  have 
been  as  we  than  our  fathers  were,  and  they  than  the  burners  of 
witches.  Even  the  metaphysical  contest,  which  you  so  pleas 
antly  described  to  me  in  a  former  letter,  will  probably  end  in 
improvement,  by  clearing  the  mind  of  Platonic  mysticism  and 
unintelligible  jargon.  Although  age  is  taking  from  me  the  power 
of  communicating  by  letter  with  my  friends  as  industriously  as 
heretofore,  I  shall  still  claim  with  them  the  same  place  they  will 
ever  hold  in  my  affections,  and  on  this  ground  I,  with  sincerity 
and  pleasure,  assure  you  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  March  14,  1818. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  letter  of  February  zyth  found  me  suffering 
under  an  attack  of  rheumatism,  which  has  but  now  left  me  at 
sufficient  ease  to  attend  to  the  letters  I  have  received.  A  plan 
of  female  education  has  never  been  a  subject  of  systematic  con 
templation  with  me.  It  has  occupied  my  attention  so  far  only  as 
the  education  of  my  own  daughters  occasionally  required.  Con 
sidering  that  they  would  be  placed  in  a  country  situation,  where 
little  aid  could  be  obtained  from  abroad,  I  thought  it  essential  to 
give  them  a  solid  education,  which  might  enable  them,  when  be 
come  mothers,  to  educate  their  own  daughters,  and  even  to  di 
rect  the  course  for  sons,  should  their  fathers  be  lost,  or  incapable, 
or  inattentive.  My  surviving  daughter  accordingly,  the  mother 
of  many  daughters  as  well  as  sons,  has  made  their  education  the 
object  of  her  life,  and  being  a  better  judge  of  the  practical  part 
than  myself,  it  is  with  her  aid  and  that  of  one  of  her  eleves  that 
I  shall  subjoin  a  catalogue  of  the  books  for  such  a  course  of  read 
ing  as  we  have  practiced. 

A  great  obstacle  to  good  education  is  the  inordinate  passion 
prevalent  for  novels,  and  the  time  lost  in  that  reading  which 
should  be  instructively  employed.  When  this  poison  infects 
the  mind,  it  destroys  its  tone  and  revolts  it  against  wholesome 
reading.  Reason  and  fact,  plain  and  unadorned,  are  rejected. 

x8i8]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  105 

Nothing  can  engage  attention  unless  dressed  in  all  the  figments 
of  fancy,  and  nothing  so  bedecked  comes  amiss.  The  result  is  a 
bloated  imagination,  sickly  judgment,  and  disgust  towards  all 
the  real  businesses  of  life.  This  mass  of  trash,  however,  is  not 
without  some  distinction  ;  some  few  modelling  their  narratives, 
although  fictitious,  on  the  incidents  of  real  life,  have  been  able 
to  make  them  interesting  and  useful  vehicles  of  a  sound  morality. 
Such,  I  think,  are  Marmontel's  new  moral  tales,  but  not  his  old 
ones,  which  are  really  immoral.  Such  are  the  writings  of  Miss 
Edgeworth,  and  some  of  those  of  Madame  Genlis.  For  a  like 
reason,  too,  much  poetry  should  not  be  indulged.  Some  is  useful 
for  forming  style  and  taste.  Pope,  Dryden,  Thompson,  Shak- 
speare,  and  of  the  French,  Moliere,  Racine,  the  Corneilles,  may 
be  read  with  pleasure  and  improvement. 

The  French  language,  become  that  of  the  general  intercourse 
of  nations,  and  from  their  extraordinary  advances,  now  the  de 
pository  of  all  science,  is  an  indispensable  part  of  education  for 
both  sexes.  In  the  subjoined  catalogue,  therefore,  I  have  placed 
the  books  of  both  languages  indifferently,  according  as  the  one 
or  the  other  offers  what  is  best. 

The  ornaments  too,  and  the  amusements  of  life,  are  entitled 
to  their  portion  of  attention.  These,  for  a  female,  are  dancing, 
drawing,  and  music.  The  first  is  a  healthy  exercise,  elegant  and 
very  attractive  for  young  people.  Every  affectionate  parent 
would  be  pleased  to  see  his  daughter  qualified  to  participate  with 
her  companions,  and  without  awkwardness  at  least,  in  the  circles 
of  festivity,  of  which  she  occasionally  becomes  a  part.  It  is  a 
necessary  accomplishment,  therefore,  although  of  short  use,  for 
the  French  rule  is  wise,  that  no  lady  dances  after  marriage.  This 
is  founded  in  solid  physical  reasons,  gestation  and  nursing  leav 
ing  little  time  to  a  married  lady  when  this  exercise  can  be  either 
safe  or  innocent.  Drawing  is  thought  less  of  in  this  country 
than  in  Europe.  It  is  an  innocent  and  engaging  amusement, 
often  useful,  and  a  qualification  not  to  be  neglected  in  one  who 
is  to  become  a  mofher  and  an  instructor.  Music  is  invaluable 
where  a  person  has  an  ear.  Where  they  have  not,  it  should  not 
be  attempted.  It  furnishes  a  delightful  recreation  for  the  hours 
of  respite  from  the  cares  of  the  day,  and  lasts  us  through  life. 

io6  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1818 

The  taste  of  this  country,  too,  calls  for  this  accomplishment  more 
strongly  than  for  either  of  the  others. 

I  need  say  nothing  of  household  economy,  in  which  the 
mothers  of  our  country  are  generally  skilled,  and  generally  care 
ful  to  instruct  their  daughters.  We  all  know  its  value,  and  that 
diligence  and  dexterity  in  all  its  processes  are  inestimable  treas 
ures.  The  order  and  economy  of  a  house  are  as  honorable  to  the 
mistress  as  those  of  the  farm  to  the  master,  and  if  either  be  neg 
lected,  ruin  follows,  and  children  destitute  of  the  means  of  living. 

This,  Sir,  is  offered  as  a  summary  sketch  on  a  subject  on  which 
I  have  not  thought  much.  It  probably  contains  nothing  but 
what  has  already  occurred  to  yourself,  and  claims  your  accept 
ance  on  no  other  ground  than  as  a  testimony  of  my  respect  for 
your  wishes,  and  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect. 



DEAR  SIR, — I  avail  myself  as  usual  of  the  protection  of  your 
cover  for  my  letters  that  to  Cathalan  need  only  be  put  into  the 
post  office  ;  but  for  that  for  Appleton  I  must  ask  the  favor  of  you 
to  adopt  the  safest  course  which  circumstances  offer.  You  will 
have  seen  by  the  newspapers  that  there  is  a  decided  ascendancy 
of  the  republican  party  in  nearly  all  the  states.  Connecticut  de 
cidedly  so.  It  is  thought  the  elections  of  this  month  in  Massa 
chusetts  will  at  length  arrange  that  recreant  state  on  the  republi 
can  side.  Maryland  is  doubtful,  and  Delaware  only  decidedly 
Anglican  ;  for  the  term  federalist  is  nearly  laid  aside,  and  the 
distinction  begins  to  be  in  name,  what  it  always  was  in  fact,  that 
is  to  say  Anglican  and  American.  There  are  some  turbid  appear 
ances  in  Congress.  A  quondam  colleague  of  yours,  who  had  ac 
quired  some  distinction  and  favor  in  the  public  eye  is  throwing 
it  away  by  endeavouring  to  obtain  his  end  by  rallying  an  opposi 
tion  to  the  administration.  This  error  has  already  ruined  some 
among  us,  and  will  ruin  others  who  do  not  perceive  that  it  is  the 
steady  abuse  of  power  in  other  governments  which  renders  that 

i8i8]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  107 

of  opposition  always  the  popular  party.  I  imagine  you  receive 
the  newspapers  and  these  will  give  you  everything  which  I  know  ; 
so  I  will  only  add  the  assurances  of  my  constant  affection  & 


MONTICELLO,  May  17,  1818. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  was  so  unfortunate  as  not  to  receive 
from  Mr.  Holly's  own  hand  your  favor  of  January  the 
28th,  being  then  at  my  other  home.  He  dined  only 
with  my  family,  and  left  them  with  an  impression 
which  has  filled  me  with  regret  that  I  did  not  partake 
of  the  pleasure  his  visit  gave  them.  I  am  glad  he  is 
gone  to  Kentucky.  Rational  Christianity  will  thrive 
more  rapidly  there  than  here.  They  are  freer  from 
prejudices  than  we  are,  and  bolder  in  grasping  at  truth. 
The  time  is  not  distant,  though  neither  you  nor  I  shall 
see  it,  when  we  shall  be  but  a  secondary  people  to 
them.  Our  greediness  for  wealth,  and  fantastical  ex 
pense,  have  degraded,  and  will  degrade,  the  minds  of 
our  maritime  citizens.  These  are  the  peculiar  vices 
of  commerce. 

I  had  been  long  without  hearing  from  you,  but  I 
had  heard  of  you  through  a  letter  from  Doctor  Water- 
house.  He  wrote  to  reclaim  against  an  expression  of 
Mr.  Wirt's,  as  to  the  commencement  of  motion  in  the 
revolutionary  ball.  The  lawyers  say  that  words  are 
always  to  be  expounded  secundum  subject  am  materiem, 
which,  in  Mr.  Wirt's  case,  was  Virginia.  It  would, 
moreover,  be  as  difficult  to  say  at  what  moment  the 

io8  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1818 

Revolution  began,  and  what  incident  set  it  in  motion, 
as  to  fix  the  moment  that  the  embryo  becomes  an 
animal,  or  the  act  which  gives  him  a  beginning.  But 
the  most  agreeable  part  of  his  letter  was  that  which 
informed  me  of  your  health,  your  activity,  and  strength 
of  memory ;  and  the  most  wonderful,  that  which  as 
sured  me  that  you  retained  your  industry  and  prompt 
ness  in  epistolary  correspondence.  Here  you  have 
entire  advantage  over  me.  My  repugnance  to  the 
writing  table  becomes  daily  and  hourly  more  deadly 
and  insurmountable.  In  place  of  this  has  come  on  a 
canine  appetite  for  reading.  And  I  indulge  it,  be 
cause  I  see  in  it  a  relief  against  the  tcedium  senectutis ; 
a  lamp  to  lighten  my  path  through  the  dreary  wilder 
ness  of  time  before  me,  whose  bourne  I  see  not. 
Losing  daily  all  interest  in  the  things  around  us, 
something  else  is  necessary  to  fill  the  void.  With  me 
it  is  reading,  which  occupies  the  mind  without  the 
labor  of  producing  ideas  from  my  own  stock. 

I  enter  into  all  your  doubts  as  to  the  event  of  the 
revolution  of  South  America.  They  will  succeed 
against  Spain.  But  the  dangerous  enemy  is  within 
their  own  breasts.  Ignorance  and  superstition  will 
chain  their  minds  and  bodies  under  religious  and 
military  despotism.  I  do  believe  it  would  be  better 
for  them  to  obtain  freedom  by  degrees  only  ;  because 
that  would  by  degrees  bring  on  light  and  information, 
and  qualify  them  to  take  charge  of  themselves  under- 
standingly ;  with  more  certainty,  if  in  the  meantime, 
under  so  much  control  as  may  keep  them  at  peace 
with  one  another.  Surely,  it  is  our  duty  to  wish  them 
independence  and  self-government,  because  they  wish 

i8i8]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  109 

it  themselves,  and  they  have  the  right,  and  we  none, 
to  choose  for  themselves,  and  I  wish,  moreover,  that 
our  ideas  may  be  erroneous,  and  theirs  prove  well 
founded.  But  these  are  speculations,  my  friend,  which 
we  may  as  well  deliver  over  to  those  who  are  to  see 
their  development.  We  shall  only  be  lookers  on, 
from  the  clouds  above,  as  now  we  look  down  on  the 
labors,  the  hurry  and  bustle  of  the  ants  and  bees. 
Perhaps  in  that  super-mundane  region,  we  may  be 
amused  with  seeing  the  fallacy  of  our  own  guesses, 
and  even  the  nothingness  of  those  labors  which  have 
filled  and  agitated  our  own  time  here. 

En  attendant,  with  sincere  affections  to  Mrs.  Adams 
and  yourself,  I  salute  you  both  cordially. 


MQNTICELLO,  May  28.  18. 

DEAR  SIR, — Our  fathers  taught  us  an  excellent  maxim  '  never 
to  put  off  to  tomorrow  what  you  can  do  today.'  By  some  of  their 
degenerate  sons  this  has  been  reversed  by  never  doing  today  what 
we  can  put  off  to  tomorrow.  For  example  I  have  been  more  than 
a  year  intending  to  send  you  a  Merino  ram,  next  week,  and  week 
after  week  it  has  been  put  off  still  to  next  week,  which,  like  to 
morrow  was  never  present.  I  now  however  send  you  one  of  full 
blood,  born  of  my  imported  ewe  of  the  race  called  Aquerres,  by 
the  imported  ram  of  the  Paular  race  which  belonged  to  the  Prince 
of  peace,  was  sold  by  order  of  the  Junto  of  Estremadura,  was 
purchased  and  sent  to  me  1810,  by  Mr  Jarvis  our  Consul  at 
Lisbon.  The  Paular's  are  deemed  the  finest  race  in  Spain  for  size 
&  wool  taken  together,  the  aquerres  superior  to  all  in  wool,  but 
small. — Supposing  the  season  with  you  has  not  yet  given  you 
peas,  the  opportunity  has  inticed  me  to  send  you  a  mess.  I  have 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  the  Virginia  Historical  Society. 

no  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1818 

not  yet  communicated  your  hospitable  message  to  Mr.  Madison 
but  shall  soon  have  an  opportunity  of  doing  it.  To  my  engage 
ment  I  must  annex  a  condition  that  in  case  of  an  adjournment 
to  Charlottesville  you  make  Monticello  your  headquarters.  But 
in  my  opinion  we  should  not  adjourn  at  all,  and  to  any  other 
place  rather  than  either  of  those  in  competition.  I  think  the 
opinion  of  the  legislature  strongly  implied  in  their  avoiding  both 
these  places,  and  calling  us  to  one  between  both.  My  own  opinion 
will  be  against  any  adjournment,  as  long  as  we  can  get  bread  & 
water  &  a  floor  to  lie  on  at  the  gap  &  particularly  against  one 
Westwardly,  because  there  we  shall  want  water.  But  my  informa 
tion  is  that  we  shall  be  tolerably  off  at  the  Gap.  That  they  have 
40  lodging  rooms  and  are  now  making  ample  preparations.  A 
waggon  load  of  beds  has  passed  thro'  Charlottesville,  which  at 
that  season  however  we  shall  not  need.  I  will  certainly  however 
pay  you  a  visit,  probably  on  the  day  after  our  meeting  (Sunday) 
as  we  shall  not  yet  have  entered  on  business.  Be  so  good  as  to 
present  my  respects  to  Mrs  Stuart  and  to  be  assured  of  my 
constant  friendship. 


MONTICELLO,  June  25.  18. 

DEAR  GENERAL, — A  life  so  much  employed  in  public  as  yours 
has  been,  must  subject  you  often  to  be  appealed  to  for  facts 
by  those  whom  they  concern.  An  occasion  occurs  to  myself 
of  asking  this  kind  of  aid  from  your  memory  &  documents. 
The  posthumous  volume  of  Wilson's  Ornithology,  altho'  pub 
lished  some  time  since,  never  happened  to  be  seen  by  me  until  a 
few  days  ago.  In  the  account  of  his  life,  prefixed  to  that  volume 
his  biographer  indulges  himself  in  a  bitter  invective  against  me, 
as  having  refused  to  employ  Wilson  on  Pike's  expedition  to  the 
Arkansas,  on  which  particularly  he  wished  to  have  been  em 
ployed.  On  turning  to  my  papers  I  have  not  a  scrip  of  a  pen  on 
the  subject  of  that  expedition  which  convinces  me  that  it  was  not 
one  of  those  which  emanated  from  myself  :  and  if  a  decaying 
memory  does  not  deceive  me  I  think  that  it  was  ordered  by  your- 

1 8 1 8]  THOMA  S  JEFFERSON,  1 1 1 

self  from  St.  Louis,  while  Governor  and  military  commander 
there  ;  that  it  was  an  expedition  for  reconnoitring  the  Indian  and 
Spanish  positions  which  might  be  within  striking  distance  ;  that 
so  far  from  being  an  expedition  admitting  a  leisurely  and  scien 
tific  examination  of  the  natural  history  of  the  country,  it's  move 
ments  were  to  be  on  the  alert,  &  too  rapid  to  be  accommodated 
to  the  pursuits  of  scientific  men  ;  that  if  previously  communicated 
to  the  Executive,  it  was  not  in  time  for  them,  from  so  great  a 
distance,  to  have  joined  scientific  men  to  it ;  nor  is  it  probable  it 
could  be  known  at  all  to  Mr.  Wilson  and  to  have  excited  his 
wishes  and  expectations  to  join  it.  If  you  will  have  the  goodness 
to  consult  your  memory  and  papers  on  this  subject,  &  to  write  me 
the  result  you  will  greatly  oblige  me. 

My  retirement  placed  me  at  once  in  a  state  of  such  pleasing 
freedom  and  tranquility,  that  I  determined  never  more  to  take 
any  concern  in  public  affairs,  but  to  consider  myself  merely  as  a 
passenger  in  the  public  vessel,  placed  under  the  pilotage  of 
others,  in  whom  too  my  confidence  was  entire.  I  therefore  dis 
continued  all  correspondence  on  public  subjects,  and  was  satis 
fied  to  hear  only  so  much  as  true  or  false,  as  a  newspaper  or  two 
could  give  me.  In  these  I  sometimes  saw  matters  of  much  con 
cern,  and  particularly  that  of  your  retirement.  A  witness  myself 
of  the  merit  of  your  services  while  I  was  in  a  situation  to  know 
and  to  feel  their  benefit,  I  made  no  enquiry  into  the  circumstances 
which  terminated  them,  whether  moving  from  yourself  or  others. 
With  the  assurance  however  that  my  estimate  of  their  value  re 
mains  unaltered,  I  pray  you  to  accept  that  of  my  great  and 
continued  esteem  and  respect. 

TO   WILLIAM    H.    CRAWFORD.  j.  MSS. 


MONTICELLO   Nov.    IO.    l8. 

DEAR  SIR, — Totally  withdrawn  from  all  attention  to  public 
affairs,  &  void  of  all  anxiety  about  them  as  reposing  entire  con 
fidence  in  those  who  administer  them,  I  am  led  to  some  remarks 
on  a  particular  subject  by  having  heretofore  taken  some  concern 

ii2  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1818 

in  it,  and  I  should  not  do  it  even  now  but  for  information  that  you 
had  turned  your  attention  to  it  at  the  last  session  of  Congress, 
and  meant  to  do  it  again  at  the  ensuing  one. 

When  Mr.  Dallas's  Tariff  first  appeared  in  the  public  papers, 
I  observed  that  among  his  reforms,  none  was  proposed  on  the 
most  exceptionable  article  in  Mr.  Hamilton's  original  Tariff,  I 
mean  that  of  wines.  I  think  it  a  great  error  to  consider  a  heavy 
tax  on  wines,  as  a  tax  on  luxury.  On  the  contrary  it  is  a  tax  on 
the  health  of  our  citizens.  It  is  a  legislative  declaration  that  none 
but  the  richest  of  them  shall  be  permitted  to  drink  wine,  and  in 
effect  a  condemnation  of  all  the  middling  &  lower  conditions  of 
society  to  the  poison  of  whisky,  which  is  destroying  them  by 
wholesale,  and  ruining  their  families.  Whereas  were  the  duties 
on  the  cheap  wines  proportioned  to  their  first  cost  the  whole 
middling  class  of  this  country  could  have  the  gratification  of  that 
milder  stimulus,  and  a  great  proportion  of  them  would  go  into 
it's  use  and  banish  the  baneful  whisky.  Surely  it  is  not  from  the 
necessities  of  our  treasury  that  we  thus  undertake  to  debar  the 
mass  of  our  citizens  the  use  of  not  only  an  innocent  gratification, 
but  a  healthy  substitute  instead  of  a  bewitching  poison.  This 
aggression  on  the  public  taste  and  comfort  has  been  ever  deemed 
among  the  most  arbitrary  &  oppressive  abuses  of  the  English 
government.  It  is  one  which  I  hope  we  shall  never  copy.  But 
the  truth  is  that  the  treasury  would  gain  in  the  long  run  by  the 
vast  extension  of  the  use  of  the  article.  I  should  therefore  be 
for  encouraging  the  use  of  wine  by  placing  it  among  the  articles 
of  lightest  duty.  But  be  this  as  it  may,  take  what  rate  of  duty  is 
thought  proper,  but  carry  it  evenly  thro'  the  cheap  as  well  as  the 
highest  priced  wines.  If  we  take  the  duty  on  Madeira  as  the 
standard,  it  will  be  of  about  25  per  cent  on  the  first  cost,  and  I 
am  sensible  it  lessens  frauds  to  enumerate  the  wines  known  and 
used  here,  and  to  lay  a  specific  duty  on  them,  according  to  their 
known  cost,  but  then  the  unknown  and  non  enumerated  should  be 
admitted  at  the  same  per  cent  on  their  first  cost.  There  are 
abundance  of  wines  in  Europe  some  weak,  some  strong,  &  of 
good  flavor  which  do  not  cost  there  more  than  2  cents  a  quart,  and 
which  are  dutied  here  at  15.  cents.  I  have  myself  imported  wines 
which  cost  but  4.  cents  the  quart  and  paid  15  cents  duty.  But  an 

i8i8]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  113 

extraordinary  inconsistence  is  in  the  following  provisions  of  the 
Tariff.  '  Claret  &  other  wines  not  enumerated 

imported  in  bottles,  per  gallon 70  cents 

when  imported  otherwise  than  in  bottles 25.  cents 

black  bottles,  glass,  quart,  per  gross 144.  cents 

If  a  cask  of  wine  then  is  imported,  and  the  bottles  brought  empty 
to  put  it  into,  the  wine  pays  6J  cents  the  quart,  &  the  bottles  i. 
cent,  making  7^  cents  a  bottle.  But  if  the  same  wine  is  put  into 
the  same  bottles  there  it  pays  15  cents  the  quart,  which  is  a  tax  of 
1\  cents  (more  than  doubling  the  duty)  for  the  act  of  putting  it 
into  the  bottle  there,  where  it  is  so  much  more  skilfully  done  and 
contributes  so  much  to  the  preservation  of  the  wine  on  it's 
passage,  for  many  of  the  cheap  wines  will  not  bear  transportation 
in  the  cask  which  stand  it  well  enough  in  the  bottle.  This  is  a 
further  proscription  of  the  light  wines,  and  giving  the  monopoly  of 
our  tables  to  the  strong  &  alcoholic,  such  as  are  all  but  equivalent 
in  their  effects  to  whisky.  It  would  certainly  be  much  more  for 
the  health  &  temperance  of  society  to  encourage  the  use  of  the 
weak,  rather  than  the  strong  wines.  2.  cents  a  quart  first  cost,  & 
\  a  cent  duty  would  give  us  wine  at  2^  cents  the  bottle  with  the 
addition  of  freight  &  other  small  charges,  which  is  but  half  the 
price  of  grog. 

These,  dear  Sir,  are  the  thoughts  which  have  long  dwelt  on  my 
mind,  and  have  given  me  the  more  concern  as  I  have  the  more 
seen  of  the  loathsome  and  fatal  effects  of  whisky,  destroying  the 
fortunes,  the  bodies,  the  minds  &  morals  of  our  citizens.  I 
suggest  them  only  to  you,  who  can  turn  them  to  account  if  just ; 
without  meaning  to  add  the  trouble  of  an  answer  to  the  over 
whelming  labors  of  your  office.  In  all  cases  accept  the  assur 
ance  of  my  sincere  esteem  &  high  consideration. 


MONTICELLO,  November  13,  1818. 

The  public  papers,  my  dear  friend,  announce  the 
fatal  event  of  which  your  letter  of  October  the  2Oth 

VOL.  X.— 8 

i j4  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1818 

had  given  me  ominous  foreboding.  Tried  myself  in 
the  school  of  affliction,  by  the  loss  of  every  form  of 
connection  which  can  rive  the  human  heart,  I  know 
well,  and  feel  what  you  have  lost,  what  you  have 
suffered,  are  suffering,  and  have  yet  to  endure.  The 
same  trials  have  taught  me  that  for  ills  so  immeasur 
able,  time  and  silence  are  the  only  medicine.  I  will 
not,  therefore,  by  useless  condolences,  open  afresh 
the  sluices  of  your  grief,  nor,  although  mingling  sin 
cerely  my  tears  with  yours,  will  I  say  a  word  more 
where  words  are  vain,  but  that  it  is  of  some  comfort 
to  us  both,  that  the  term  is  not  very  distant,  at  which 
we  are  to  deposit  in  the  same  cerement,  our  sorrows 
and  suffering  bodies,  and  to  ascend  in  essence  to  an 
ecstatic  meeting  with  the  friends  we  have  loved  and 
lost,  and  whom  we  shall  still  love  and  never  lose 
again.  God  bless  you  and  support  you  under  your 
heavy  affliction. 


MONTICELLO,  November  24,  18. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  letter  of  July  22  was  most  acceptable  to  me, 
by  the  distinctness  of  the  view  it  presented  of  the  state  of  France. 
I  rejoice  in  the  prospect  that  that  country  will  so  soon  recover 
from  the  effects  of  the  depression  under  which  it  has  been  labor 
ing  ;  and  especially  I  rejoice  in  the  hope  of  its  enjoying  a  govern 
ment  as  free  as  perhaps  the  state  of  things  will  yet  bear.  It 
appears  to  me,  indeed,  that  their  constitution,  as  it  now  is,  gives 
them  a  legislative  branch  more  equally  representative,  more  inde 
pendent,  and  certainly  of  more  integrity,  than  the  corresponding 
one  in  England.  Time  and  experience  will  give  what  is  still 
wanting,  and  I  hope  they  will  wait  patiently  for  that  without 
hazarding  new  convulsions. 

i8i8]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  115 

Here  all  is  well.  The  President's  message,  delivered  a  few 
days  ago,  will  have  given  you  a  correct  view  of  the  state  of  our 
affairs.  The  capture  of  Pensacola,  which  furnished  so  much 
speculation  for  European  news-writers  (who  imagine  that  our 
political  code,  like  theirs,  had  no  chapter  of  morality),  was  noth 
ing  here.  In  the  first  moment,  indeed,  there  was  a  general  out 
cry  of  condemnation  of  what  appeared  to  be  a  wrongful  aggression. 
But  this  was  quieted  at  once  by  information  that  it  had  been 
taken  without  orders  and  would  be  instantly  restored  ;  and  al 
though  done  without  orders,  yet  not  without  justifiable  cause,  as 
we  are  assured  will  be  satisfactorily  shown.  This  manifestation 
of  the  will  of  our  citizens  to  countenance  no  injustice  towards  a 
foreign  nation  filled  me  with  comfort  as  to  our  future  course. 

Emigration  to  the  West  and  South  is  going  on  beyond  anything 
imaginable.  The  President  told  me  lately  that  the  sales  of  public 
lands  within  the  last  year  would  amount  to  ten  millions  of  dollars. 
There  is  one  only  passage  in  his  message  which  -I  disapprove,  and 
which  I  trust  will  not  be  approved  by  our  legislature.  It  is  that 
which  proposes  to  subject  the  Indians  to  our  laws  without  their 
consent  A  little  patience  and  a  little  money  are  so  rapidly  pro 
ducing  their  voluntary  removal  across  the  Mississippi,  that  I  hope 
this  immorality  will  not  be  permitted  to  stain  our  history.  He 
has  certainly  been  surprised  into  this  proposition,  so  little  in  con 
cord  with  our  principles  of  government. 

My  strength  has  been  sensibly  declining  the  last  few  years,  and 
my  health  greatly  broken  by  an  illness  of  three  months,  from 
which  I  am  but  now  recovering.  I  have  been  able  to  get  on 
horseback  within  these  three  or  four  days,  and  trust  that  my  con 
valescence  will  now  be  steady.  I  am  to  write  you  a  letter  on  the 
subject  of  my  friend  Cathalan,  a  very  intimate  friend  of  three  and 
thirty  years'  standing,  and  a  servant  of  the  United  States  of  near 
forty  years.  I  am  aware  that  his  office  is  coveted  by  another, 
and  suppose  it  possible  that  intrigue  may  have  been  employed  to 
get  him  removed.  But  I  know  him  too  well  not  to  pronounce  him 
incapable  of  such  misconduct  as  ought  to  overweigh  the  long 
course  of  his  services  to  the  United  States.  I  confess  I  should 
feel  with  great  sensibility  a  disgrace  inflicted  on  him  at  this  period 
of  life.  But  on  this  subject  I  must  write  to  you  more  fully  when 

n6  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1818 

I  shall  have  more  strength,  for  as  yet  I  sit  at  the  writing  table 
with  great  pain. 

I  am  obliged  to  usurp  the  protection  of  your  cover  for  my  let 
ters — a  trouble,  however,  which  will  be  rare  hereafter.  My  pack 
age  is  rendered  more  bulky  on  this  occasion  by  a  book  I  transmit 
for  M.  Tracy.  It  is  a  translation  of  his  Economic politique,  which 
we  have  made  and  published  here  in  the  hope  of  advancing  our 
countrymen  somewhat  in  that  science  ;  the  most  profound  igno 
rance  of  which  threatened  irreparable  disaster  during  the  late 
war,  and  by  the  parasite  institutions  of  banks  is  now  consuming 
the  public  industry.  The  flood  with  which  they  are  deluging  us 
of  nominal  money  has  placed  us  completely  without  any  certain 
measure  of  value,  and,  by  interpolating  a  false  measure,  is  deceiv 
ing  and  ruining  multitudes  of  our  citizens. 

I  hope  your  health,  as  well  as  Mrs.  Gallatin's,  continues  good, 
and  that  whether  you  serve  us  there  or  here,  you  will  long  con 
tinue  to  us  your  services.  Their  value  and  their  need  are  fully 
understood  and  appreciated.  I  salute  you  with  constant  and 
affectionate  friendship  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  December  4,  1818. 

DEAR  SIR, — Yours  of  November  the  8th  has  been 
some  time  received ;  but  it  is  in  my  power  to  give 
little  satisfaction  as  to  its  inquiries.  Dr.  Franklin 
had  many  political  enemies,  as  every  character  must, 
which,  with  decision  enough  to  have  opinions,  has 
energy  and  talent  to  give  them  effect  on  the  feelings 
of  the  adversary  opinion.  These  enmities  were  chiefly 
in  Pennsylvania  and  Massachusetts.  In  the  former, 
they  were  merely  of  the  proprietary  party.  In  the 
latter,  they  did  not  commence  till  the  Revolution,  and 
then  sprung  chiefly  from  personal  animosities,  which 

1 8 1 8]  THOMA  S  JEFFERSON.  i  T  7 

spreading  by  little  and  little,  became  at  length  of  some 
extent.  Dr.  Lee  was  his  principal  calumniator,  a  man 
of  much  malignity,  who,  besides  enlisting  his  whole 
family  in  the  same  hostility,  was  enabled,  as  the  agent 
of  Massachusetts  with  the  British  government,  to  in 
fuse  it  into  that  State  with  considerable  effect.  Mr. 
Izard,  the  Doctor's  enemy  also,  but  from  a  pecuniary 
transaction,  never  countenanced  these  charges  against 
him.  Mr.  Jay,  Silas  Deane,  Mr.  Laurens,  his  col 
leagues  also,  ever  maintained  towards  him  unlimited 
confidence  and  respect.  That  he  would  have  waived 
the  formal  recognition  of  our  independence,  I  never 
heard  on  any  authority  worthy  notice.  As  to  the 
fisheries,  England  was  urgent  to  retain  them  exclu 
sively,  France  neutral,  and  I  believe,  that  had  they 
been  ultimately  made  a  sine  quA  non,  our  commis 
sioners  (Mr.  Adams  excepted)  would  have  relin 
quished  them,  rather  than  have  broken  off  the  treaty. 
To  Mr.  Adams'  perseverance  alone,  on  that  point,  I 
have  always  understood  we  were  indebted  for  their 
reservation.  As  to  the  charge  of  subservience  to 
France,  besides  the  evidence  of  his  friendly  colleagues 
before  named,  two  years  of  my  own  service  with  him 
at  Paris,  daily  visits,  and  the  most  friendly  and  confi 
dential  conversation,  convince  me  it  had  not  a  shadow 
of  foundation.  He  possessed  the  confidence  of  that 
government  in  the  highest  degree,  insomuch,  that  it 
may  truly  be  said,  that  they  were  more  under  his  in 
fluence,  than  he  under  theirs.  The  fact  is,  that  his 
temper  was  so  amiable  and  conciliatory,  his  conduct 
so  rational,  never  urging  impossibilities,  or  even 

n8  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1818 

things  unreasonably  inconvenient  to  them,  in  short, 
so  moderate  and  attentive  to  their  difficulties,  as  well 
as  our  own,  that  what  his  enemies  called  subservi 
ency,  I  saw  was  only  that  reasonable  disposition, 
which,  sensible  that  advantages  are  not  all  to  be  on 
one  side,  yielding  what  is  just  and  liberal,  is  the  more 
certain  of  obtaining  liberality  and  justice.  Mutual 
confidence  produces,  of  course,  mutual  influence,  and 
this  was  all  which  subsisted  between  Dr.  Franklin  and 
the  government  of  France. 

I  state  a  few  anecdotes  of  Dr.  Franklin,1  within  my 

"  Our  revolutionary  process  as  is  well  known,  commenced  by  petitions, 
memorials,  remonstrances  &c.  from  the  old  Congress.  These  were  followed  by 
a  non-importation  agreement,  as  a  pacific  instrument  of  coercion.  While  that 
was  before  us,  and  sundry  exceptions,  as  of  arms,  ammunition  &c.  were  moved 
from  different  quarters  of  the  house,  I  was  sitting  by  Dr.  Franklin  and  observed 
to  him  that  I  thought  we  should  except  books :  that  we  ought  not  to  exclude 
science,  even  coming  from  an  enemy.  He  thought  so  too,  and  I  proposed  the 
exception,  which  was  agreed  to.  Soon  after  it  occurred  that  medicine  should 
be  excepted,  &  I  suggested  that  also  to  the  Doctor.  '  As  to  that,'  said  he  '  I 
will  tell  you  a  story.  When  I  was  in  London,  in  such  a  year,  there  was  a 
weekly  club  of  Physicians,  of  which  St.  John  Pringle  was  President,  and  I  was 
invited  by  my  friend  Dr.  Fothergill  to  attend  when  convenient.  Their  rule 
was  to  propose  a  thesis  one  week,  and  discuss  it  the  next.  I  happened  there 
when  the  question  to  be  considered  was  whether  Physicians  had,  on  the  whole, 
done  most  good  or  harm  ?  The  young  members,  particularly,  having  discussed 
it  very  learnedly  and  eloquently  till  the  subject  was  exhausted,  one  of  them 
observed  to  St.  John  Pringle,  that,  altho"  it  was  not  usual  for  the  President  to 
take  part  in  a  debate,  yet  they  were  desirous  to  know  his  opinion  on  the  ques 
tion.  He  said,  they  must  first  tell  him  whether,  under  the  appellation  of  Physi 
cians,  they  meant  to  include  old  women  ;  if  they  did,  he  thought  they  had  done 
more  good  than  harm,  otherwise  more  harm  than  good.' 

"  The  confederation  of  the  States,  while  on  the  carpet  before  the  old  Con 
gress,  was  strenuously  opposed  by  the  smaller  states,  under  apprehensions  that 
they  would  be  swallowed  up  by  the  larger  ones.  We  were  long  engaged  in  the 
discussion  ;  it  produced  great  heats,  much  ill  humor,  and  intemperate  declara 
tions  from  some  members.  Dr.  Franklin  at  length  brought  the  debate  to  a 
close  with  one  of  his  little  apologues.  He  observed  that  '  at  the  time  of  the 
Union  of  England  &  Scotland,  the  Duke  of  Argyle  was  most  violently  opposed 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  119 

own  knowledge,  too  much  in  detail  for  the  scale  of 
Delaplaine's  work,  but  which  may  find  a  cadre  in 
some  of  the  more  particular  views  you  contemplate. 
My  health  is  in  a  great  measure  restored,  and  our 
family  join  with  me  in  affectionate  recollections  and 
assurances  of  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  January  12,  1819. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  problem  you  had  wished  to  propose  to  me 
was  one  which  I  could  not  have  solved  ;  for  I  knew  nothing  of 

to  that  measure,  and  among  other  things  predicted  that,  as  the  whale  had 
swallowed  Jonas,  so  Scotland  would  be  swallowed  by  England.  However,'  said 
the  Doctor,  '  when  Ld.  Bute  came  into  the  government,  he  soon  brought  into  it's 
administration  so  many  of  his  countrymen  that  it  was  found  in  event  that 
Jonas  swallowed  the  whale.'  This  little  story  produced  a  general  laugh,  re 
stored  good  humor,  &  the  Article  of  difficulty  was  passed. 

"  When  Dr.  Franklin  went  to  France  on  his  revolutionary  mission,  his  emi 
nence  as  a  philosopher,  his  venerable  appearance,  and  the  cause  on  which  he 
was  sent,  rendered  him  extremely  popular.  For  all  ranks  and  conditions  of 
men  there,  entered  warmly  into  the  American  interest.  He  was  therefore 
feasted  and  invited  to  all  the  court  parties.  At  these  he  sometimes  met  the  old 
Duchess  of  Bourbon,  who  being  a  chess  player  of  about  his  force,  they  very  gen 
erally  played  together.  Happening  once  to  put  her  king  into  prise,  the  Doctor 
took  it.  '  Ah,'  says  she,  '  we  do  not  take  kings  so.'  '  We  do  in  America,"  said 
the  Doctor. 

"At  one  of  these  parties,  the  emperor  Joseph  II,  then  at  Paris,  incog,  under 
the  title  of  Count  Falkenstein,  was  overlooking  the  game,  in  silence,  while  the 
company  was  engaged  in  animated  conversations  on  the  American  question. 
'  How  happens  it  M.  le  Comte,'  said  the  Duchess,  '  that  while  we  all  feel 
so  much  interest  in  the  cause  of  the  Americans,  you  say  nothing  for  them  '  ?  'I 
am  a  king  by  trade,'  said  he. 

"  When  the  Declaration  of  Independence  was  under  the  consideration  of 
Congress,  there  were  two  or  three  unlucky  expressions  in  it  which  gave  offence 
to  some  members.  The  words  '  Scotch  and  other  foreign  auxiliaries '  excited 
the  ire  of  a  gentleman  or  two' of  that  country.  Severe  strictures  on  the  con 
duct  of  the  British  king,  in  negativing  our  repeated  repeals  of  the  law  which  per 
mitted  the  importation  of  slaves,  were  disapproved  by  some  Southern  gentlemen 
whose  reflections  were  not  yet  matured  to  the  full  abhorrence  of  that  traffic. 

120  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

the  facts.  I  read  no  newspaper  now  but  Ritchie's,  and  in  that 
chiefly  the  advertisements,  for  they  contain  the  only  truths  to  be 
relied  on  in  a  newspaper.  I  feel  a  much  greater  interest  in  know 
ing  what  has  passed  two  or  three  thousand  years  ago,  than  in 
what  is  now  passing.  I  read  nothing,  therefore,  but  of  the  heroes 
of  Troy,  of  the  wars  of  Lacedaemon  and  Athens,  of  Pompey  and 
Caesar,  and  of  Augustus  too,  the  Bonaparte  and  parricide  scoun 
drel  of  that  day.  I  have  had.  and  still  have,  such  entire  confi 
dence  in  the  late  and  present  Presidents,  that  I  willingly  put  both 
soul  and  body  into  their  pockets.  While  such  men  as  yourself 
and  your  worthy  colleagues  of  the  legislature,  and  such  characters 

Altho'  the  offensive  expressions  were  immediately  yielded,  these  gentlemen  con 
tinued  their  depredations  on  other  parts  of  the  instrument.  I  was  sitting  by 
Dr.  Franklin  who  perceived  that  I  was  not  insensible  to  these  mutilations.  '  I 
have  made  it  a  rule,"  said  he,  '  whenever  in  my  power,  to  avoid  becoming  the 
draughtsman  of  papers  to  be  reviewed  by  a  public  body.  I  took  my  lesson 
from  an  incident  which  I  will  relate  to  you.  When  I  was  a  journeyman  printer, 
one  of  my  companions,  an  apprentice  Hatter,  having  served  out  his  time,  was 
about  to  open  shop  for  himself,  his  first  concern  was  to  have  a  handsome  sign 
board,  with  a  proper  inscription.  He  composed  it  in  these  words  '  John 
Thompson,  Halter,  makes  and  sells  hats  for  ready  money'  with  a  figure  of 
a  hat  subjoined.  But  he  thought  he  would  submit  it  to  his  friends  for  their 
amendments.  The  first  he  shewed  it  to  thought  the  word  '  Hatter '  tautolo- 
gous,  because  followed  by  the  words  '  makes  hats  '  which  shew  he  was  a  Hat 
ter.  It  was  struck  out.  The  next  observed  that  the  word  'makes'  might  as 
well  be  omitted,  because  his  customers  would  not  care  who  made  the  hats.  If  good 
&  to  their  mind,  they  would  buy  by  whomsoever  made.  He  struck  it  out.  A 
third  said  he  thought  the  words  "for  ready  money'  were  useless  as  it  was  not 
the  custom  of  the  place  to  sell  on  credit.  Every  one  who  purchased  expected 
to  pay.  They  were  parted  with,  and  the  inscription  now  stood  '  John  Thomp 
son  sells  hats.'  '  sells  hats '  says  his  next  friend  ?  '  Why  nobody  will  expect  you 
to  give  them  away.  What  then  is  the  use  of  that  word  ? '  It  was  stricken  out, 
and  '  hats '  followed  it, — the  rather  as  there  was  one  painted  on  the  board.  So 
his  inscription  was  reduced  ultimately  to  '  John  Thompson  '  with  the  figure  of  a 
hat  subjoined. 

"  The  Doctor  told  me,  at  Paris,  the  two  following  anecdotes  of  Abbe  Ray- 
nal.  He  had  a  party  to  dine  with  him  one  day  at  Passy  of  whom  one  half  were 
Americans,  the  other  half  French  &  among  the  last  was  the  Abbe.  During  the 
dinner  he  got  on  his  favorite  theory  of  the  degeneracy  of  animals  and  even 
of  man,  in  America,  and  urged  it  with  his  usual  eloquence.  The  Doctor 
at  length  noticing  the  accidental  stature  and  positions  of  his  guests,  at  table, 
1  Come '  says  he,  '  M.  L'Abbe,  let  us  try  this  question  by  the  fact  before  us. 

1 819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  1 2 1 

as  compose  the  executive  administration,  are  watching  for  us  all, 
I  slumber  without  fear,  and  review  in  my  dreams  the  visions  of 
antiquity.  There  is,  indeed,  one  evil  which  awakens  me  at  times, 
because  it  jostles  me  at  every  turn.  It  is  that  we  have  now  no 
measure  of  value.  I  am  asked  eighteen  dollars  for  a  yard  of  broad 
cloth,  which,  when  we  had  dollars,  I  used  to  get  for  eighteen  shil 
lings  ;  from  this  I  can  only  understand  that  a  dollar  is  now  worth 
but  two  inches  of  broadcloth,  but  broadcloth  is  no  standard  of 
measure  or  value.  I  do  not  know,  therefore,  whereabouts  I  stand 
in  the  scale  of  property,  nor  what  to  ask,  or  what  to  give  for  it.  I 
saw,  indeed,  the  like  machinery  in  action  in  the  years  '80  and  '81, 
and  without  dissatisfaction  ;  because  in  wearing  out,  It  was  work- 

We  are  here  one  half  Americans,  &  one  half  French,  and  it  happens  that  the 
Americans  have  placed  themselves  on  one  side  of  the  table,  and  our  French 
friends  are  on  the  other.  Let  both  parties  rise  and  we  will  see  on  which  side  na 
ture  has  degenerated.'  It  happened  that  his  American  guests  were  Carmichael, 
Harmer,  Humphreys  and  others  of  the  finest  stature  and  form,  while  those  of 
the  other  side  were  remarkably  diminutive,  and  the  Abbe  himself  particularly 
was  a  mere  shrimp.  He  parried  the  appeal  however,  by  a  complimentary 
admission  of  exceptions,  among  which  the  Doctor  himself  was  a  conspicu 
ous  one. 

"  The  Doctor  &  Silas  Deane  were  in  conversation  one  day  at  Passy  on  the 
numerous  errors  in  the  Abbe's  Histoire  des  deux  Indes,  when  he  happened  to 
step  in.  After  the  usual  salutations,  Silas  Deane  said  to  him  '  The  Doctor 
and  myself  Abbe,  were  just  speaking  of  the  errors  of  fact  into  which  you  have 
been  led  in  your  history.'  '  Oh  no,  Sir,'  said  the  Abbe,  '  that  is  impossible.  I 
took  the  greatest  care  not  to  insert  a  single  fact,  for  which  I  had  not  the  most 
unquestionable  authority.'  'Why,'  says  Deane,  'there  is  the  story  of  Polly 
Baker,  and  the  eloquent  apology  you  have  put  into  her  mouth,  when  brought 
before  a  court  of  Massachusetts  to  suffer  punishment  under  a  law,  which  you 
cite,  for  having  had  a  bastard.  I  know  there  never  was  such  a  law  in  Massa 
chusetts.'  '  Be  assured,'  said  the  Abbe,  '  you  are  mistaken,  and  that  that  is  a 
true  story.  I  do  not  immediately  recollect  indeed  the  particular  information  on 
which  I  quote  it,  but  I  am  certain  that  I  had  for  it  unquestionable  author 
ity.'  Doctor  Franklin  who  had  been  for  some  time  shaking  with  restrained 
laughter  at  the  Abbe's  confidence  in  his  authority  for  that  tale,  said,  '  I  will 
tell  you.  Abbe,  the  origin  of  that  story.  When  I  was  a  printer  and  editor  of  a 
newspaper,  we  were  sometimes  slack  of  news,  and  to  amuse  our  customers,  I 
used  to  fill  up  our  vacant  columns  with  anecdotes,  and  fables,  and  fancies  of 
my  own,  and  this  of  Polly  Baker  is  a  story  of  my  making,  on  one  of  those  occa 
sions.'  The  Abbe  without  the  least  disconcert,  exclaimed  with  a  laugh,  '  Oh, 
very  well,  Doctor,  I  had  rather  relate  your  stories  than  other  men's  truths.'  " 

122  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

ing  out  our  salvation.  But  I  see  nothing  in  this  renewal  of  the 
game  of  "  Robin's  alive  "  but  a  general  demoralization  of  the  na 
tion,  a  niching  from  industry  its  honest  earnings,  wherewith  to 
build  up  palaces,  and  raise  gambling  stock  for  swindlers  and 
shavers,  who  are  to  close  too  their  career  of  piracies  by  fraudulent 
bankruptcies.  My  dependence  for  a  remedy,  however,  is  with 
the  wisdom  which  grows  with  time  and  suffering.  Whether  the 
succeeding  generation  is  to  be  more  virtuous  than  their  prede 
cessors,  I  cannot  say  ;  but  I  am  sure  they  will  have  more  worldly 
wisdom,  and  enough,  I  hope,  to  know  that  honesty  is  the  first 
chapter  in  the  book  of  wisdom.  I  have  made  a  great  exertion  to 
write  you  thus  much  ;  my  antipathy  to  taking  up  a  pen  being  so 
intense  that  I  have  never  given  you  a  stronger  proof,  than  in  the 
effort  of  writing  a  letter,  how  much  I  value  you,  and  of  the  super 
lative  respect  and  friendship  with  which  I  salute  you. 


MONTICELLO,  Jan.  18.  19. 

You  oblige  me  infinitely,  dear  Sir,  by  sending  me  the  Congres 
sional  documents  in  pamphlet  form.  For  as  they  come  out  by 
piece-meal  in  the  newspapers  I  never  read  them.  And  indeed  I 
read  no  newspapers  now  but  Ritchie's,  and  in  that  chiefly  the  ad 
vertisements,  as  being  the  only  truths  we  can  rely  on  in  a  news 
paper.  But  in  a  pamphlet,  where  we  can  go  thro'  the  whole 
subject  when  once  taken  up,  and  seen  in  all  it's  parts,  we  avoid 
the  risk  of  false  judgment  which  a  partial  view  endangers.  On 
the  subject  of  these  communications,  I  will  venture  a  suggestion 
which,  should  it  have  occurred  to  yourself  or  to  Mr.  Adams  as  is 
probable,  will  only  be  a  little  labor  lost.  I  propose  then  that  you 
select  Mr.  Adams's  4.  principal  letters  on  the  Spanish  subject,  to 
wit,  that  which  establishes  our  right  to  the  Rio- bravo  which  was 
laid  before  the  Congress  of  1817  .18.  His  letters  to  Onis  of  July 
23.  &  Nov.  30.  and  to  Erving  of  Nov.  28  perhaps  also  that  of 
Dec.  2.  Have  them  well  translated  into  French,  and  send  Eng 
lish  &  French  copies  to  all  our  ministers  at  foreign  courts,  and  to 
our  consuls.  The  paper  on  our  right  to  the  Rio-bravo,  and  the 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  123 

letter  to  Erving  of  Nov.  28.  are  the  most  important  and  are 
among  the  ablest  compositions  I  have  ever  seen,  both  as  to  logic 
and  style.  A  selection  of  these  few  in  pamphlet  form  will  be  read 
by  every  body  ;  but,  by  nobody,  if  buried  among  Onis's  long- 
winded  and  tergiversating  diatribes,  and  all  the  documents  ;  the 
volume  of  which  alone  will  deter  an  European  reader  from  ever 
opening  it.  Indeed  it  would  be  worth  while  to  have  the  two  most 
important  of  these  published  in  the  Leyden  gazette,  from  which 
it  would  go  into  the  other  leading  gazettes  of  Europe.  It  is  of 
great  consequence  to  us,  &  merits  every  possible  endeavor,  to 
maintain  in  Europe  a  correct  opinion  of  our  political  morality. 
These  papers  will  place  the  event  with  the  world  in  the  important 
cases  of  our  Western  boundary,  of  our  military  entrance  into 
Florida,  &  of  the  execution  of  Arbuthnot  and  Ambrister.  On 
the  two  first  subjects  it  is  very  natural  for  an  European  to  go 
wrong,  and  to  give  into  the  charge  of  ambition,  which  the  English 
papers  (read  every  where)  endeavor  to  fix  on  us.  If  the  European 
mind  is  once  set  right  on  these  points,  they  will  go  with  us  in  all 
the  subsequent  proceedings,  without  further  enquiry. 

While  on  the  subject  of  this  correspondence,  I  will  presume 
also  to  suggest  to  Mr.  Adams  the  question  whether  he  should  not 
send  back  Onis's  letters  in  which  he  has  the  impudence  to  qualify 
you  by  the  term  '  his  Excellency '  ?  An  American  gentleman  in 
Europe  can  rank  with  the  first  nobility  because  we  have  no  titles 
which  stick  him  at  any  particular  place  in  their  line.  So  the 
President  of  the  US.  under  that  designation  ranks  with  Emperors 
and  kings,  but  add  Mr.  Onis's  courtesy  of  '  his  Excellency '  and 
he  is  then  on  a  level  with  Mr.  Onis  himself,  with  the  Governors 
of  provinces  and  even  of  every  petty  fort  in  Europe,  or  the  colo 
nies.  I  salute  you  with  constant  affection  &  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  Jan.  31.  19. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  isth  was  received  on  the  27th, 
and  I  am  glad  to  find  the  name  and  character  of  Samuel  Adams 
coming  forward  and  in  so  good  hands  as  I  suppose  them  to  be. 

i24  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

But  I  have  to  regret  that  I  can  add  no  facts  to  the  stores  pos 
sessed.  I  was  the  youngest  man  but  one  in  the  old  Congress,  and 
he  the  oldest  but  one,  as  I  believe.  His  only  senior,  I  suppose, 
was  Stephen  Hopkins,  of  and  by  whom  the  honorable  mention 
made  in  your  letter  was  richly  merited.  Altho'  my  high  rever 
ence  for  Samuel  Adams  was  returned  by  habitual  notices  from 
him  which  highly  flattered  me,  yet  the  disparity  of  age  prevented 
intimate  and  confidential  communications.  I  always  considered 
him  as  more  than  any  other  member  the  fountain  of  our  important 
measures.  And  altho'  he  was  neither  an  eloquent  nor  easy 
speaker,  whatever  he  said  was  sound,  and  commanded  the  pro 
found  attention  of  the  House.  In  the  discussions  on  the  floor 
of  Congress  he  reposed  himself  on  our  main  pillar  in  debate 
Mr.  John  Adams.  These  two  gentlemen  were  verily  a  host  in 
our  councils.  Comparisons  with  their  associates,  Northern  or 
Southern,  would  answer  no  profitable  purpose,  but  they  would 
suffer  by  comparison  with  none.  I  salute  you  with  perfect  esteem 
&  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  Mar.  3.  19. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  promised  your  gardener  some  seeds 
which  I  put  under  a  separate  cover  and  address  to 
you  by  mail.  I  also  inclose  you  a  letter  from  Mr. 
Cabell  which  will  shew  you  that  the  '  sour  grapes '  of 
Wm.  &  Mary  are  spreading ;  but  certainly  not  to  the 
'enlightened  part  of  society'  as  the  letter  supposes. 
I  have  sent  him  a  transcript  from  our  journals  that 
he  may  see  how  far  we  are  under  engagements  to  Dr. 
Cooper.  I  observe  Ritchie  imputes  to  you  and  my 
self  opinions  against  Jackson's  conduct  in  the  Semi- 
nole  war.  I  certainly  never  doubted  that  the  military 
entrance  into  Florida,  the  temporary  occupation  of 
their  posts,  and  the  execution  of  Arbuthnot  &  Am- 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  125 

brister  were  all  justifiable.  If  I  had  ever  doubted  P. 
Barber's  speech  would  have  brought  me  to  rights. 
I  at  first  felt  regret  at  the  execution  ;  but  I  have 
ceased  to  feel  [torn]  on  mature  reflection,  and  a 
belief  the  example  will  save  much  blood.  Affection 
ately  yours. 

P.  S.     On  my  return  I  fell  in  with  Mr.  Watson 
who  signed  our  proceedings. 


MONTICELLO,  March  21,  1819 

SIR, — Your  letter  of  February  the  i8th  came  to 
hand  on  the  ist  instant  ;  and  the  request  of  the 
history  of  my  physical  habits  would  have  puzzled  me 
not  a  little,  had  it  not  been  for  the  model  with  which 
you  accompanied  it,  of  Doctor  Rush's  answer  to  a 
similar  inquiry.  I  live  so  much  like  other  people, 
that  I  might  refer  to  ordinary  life  as  the  history  of 
my  own.  Like  my  friend  the  Doctor,  I  have  lived 
temperately,  eating  little  animal  food,  and  that  not  as 
an  aliment,  so  much  as  a  condiment  for  the  vege 
tables,  which  constitute  my  principal  diet.  I  double, 
however,  the  Doctor's  glass  and  a  half  of  wine,  and 
even  treble  it  with  a  friend  ;  but  halve  its  effects  by 
drinking  the  weak  wines  only.  The  ardent  wines  I 
cannot  drink,  nor  do  I  use  ardent  spirits  in  any  form. 
Malt  liquors  and  cider  are  my  table  drinks,  and  my 
breakfast,  like  that  also  of  my  friend,  is  of  tea  and 
coffee.  I  have  been  blest  with  organs  of  digestion 
which  accept  and  concoct,  without  ever  murmuring, 

126  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

whatever  the  palate  chooses  to  consign  to  them,  and 
I  have  not  yet  lost  a  tooth  by  age.  I  was  a  hard 
student  until  I  entered  on  the  business  of  life,  the 
duties  of  which  leave  no  idle  time  to  those  disposed 
to  fulfil  them;  and  now,  retired,  and  at  the  age  of 
seventy-six,  I  am  again  a  hard  student.  Indeed,  my 
fondness  for  reading  and  study  revolts  me  from  the 
drudgery  of  letter  writing.  And  a  stiff  wrist,  the  con 
sequence  of  an  early  dislocation,  makes  writing  both 
slow  and  painful.  I  am  not  so  regular  in  my  sleep  as 
the  Doctor  says  he  was,  devoting  to  it  from  five  to 
eight  hours,  according  as  my  company  or  the  book  I 
am  reading  interests  me  ;  and  I  never  go  to  bed  with 
out  an  hour,  or  half  hour's  previous  reading  of  some 
thing  moral,  whereon  to  ruminate  in  the  intervals  of 
sleep.  But  whether  I  retire  to  bed  early  or  late,  I 
rise  with  the  sun.  I  use  spectacles  at  night,  but  not 
necessarily  in  the  day,  unless  in  reading  small  print. 
My  hearing  is  distinct  in  particular  conversation,  but 
confused  when  several  voices  cross  each  other,  which 
unfits  me  for  the  society  of  the  table.  I  have  been 
more  fortunate  than  my  friend  in  the  article  of  health. 
So  free  from  catarrhs  that  I  have  not  had  one,  (in 
the  breast,  I  mean)  on  an  average  of  eight  or  ten 
years  through  life.  I  ascribe  this  exemption  partly 
to  the  habit  of  bathing  my  feet  in  cold  water  every 
morning,  for  sixty  years  past.  A  fever  of  more  than 
twenty-four  hours  I  have  not  had  above  two  or  three 
times  in  my  life.  A  periodical  headache  has  afflicted 
me  occasionally,  once,  perhaps,  in  six  or  eight  years, 
for  two  or  three  weeks  at  a  time,  which  seems  now 

i8i9]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  127 

to  have  left  me  ;  and  except  on  a  late  occasion  of  in 
disposition,  I  enjoy  good  health  ;  too  feeble,  indeed, 
to  walk  much,  but  riding  without  fatigue  six  or  eight 
miles  a  day,  and  sometimes  thirty  or  forty.  I  may 
end  these  egotisms,  therefore,  as  I  began,  by  saying 
that  my  life  has  been  so  much  like  that  of  other 
people,  that  I  might  say  with  Horace,  to  every  one 
'''nomine  mutato,  narratur  fabula  de  te"  I  must  not 
end,  however,  without  due  thanks  for  the  kind  senti 
ments  of  regard  you  are  so  good  as  to  express  to 
wards  myself ;  and  with  my  acknowledgments  for 
these,  be  pleased  to  accept  the  assurances  of  my 
respect  and  esteem. 


MONTICELLO,  May  12,  1819. 

SIR, — An  absence  of  some  time  at  an  occasional  and  distant 
residence  must  apologize  for  the  delay  in  acknowledging  the  re 
ceipt  of  your  favor  of  April  i2th.  And  candor  obliges  me  to  add 
that  it  has  been  somewhat  extended  by  an  aversion  to  writing, 
as  well  as  to  calls  on  my  memory  for  facts  so  much  obliterated 
from  it  by  time  as  to  lessen  my  confidence  in  the  traces  which 
seem  to  remain.  One  of  the  inquiries  in  your  letter,  however, 
may  be  answered  without  an  appeal  to  the  memory.  It  is  that 
respecting  the  question  whether  committees  of  correspondence 
originated  in  Virginia  or  Massachusetts  ?  On  which  you  suppose 
me  to  have  claimed  it  for  Virginia.  But  certainly  I  have  never 
made  such  a  claim.  The  idea,  I  suppose,  has  been  taken  up 
from  what  is  said  in  Wirt's  history  of  Mr.  Henry,  p.  87,  and  from 
an  inexact  attention  to  its  precise  term.  It  is  there  said  "  this 
house  [of  burgesses  of  Virginia]  had  the  merit  of  originating  that 
powerful  engine  of  resistance,  corresponding  committees  between 
the  legislatures  of  the  different  colonies."  That  the  fact  as  here 
expressed  is  true,  your  letter  bears  witness  when  it  says  that 

i28  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819. 

the  resolutions  of  Virginia  for  this  purpose  were  transmitted 
to  the  speakers  of  the  different  Assemblies,  and  by  that  of  Massa 
chusetts  was  laid  at  the  next  session  before  that  body,  who  ap 
pointed  a  committee  for  the  specified  object  :  adding,  "  thus  in 
Massachusetts  there  "were  two  committees  of  correspondence,  one 
chosen  by  the  people,  the  other  appointed  by  the  House  of  As 
sembly  ;  in  the  former,  Massachusetts  preceded  Virginia ;  in  the 
latter,  Virginia  preceded  Massachusetts."  To  the  origination  of 
committees  for  the  interior  correspondence  between  the  counties 
and  towns  of  a  State,  I  know  of  no  claim  on  the  part  of  Virginia  ; 
but  certainly  none  was  ever  made  by  myself.  I  perceive,  how 
ever,  one  error  into  which  memory  had  led  me.  Our  committee 
for  national  correspondence  was  appointed  in  March,  '73,  and  I 
well  remember  that  going  to  Williamsburg  in  the  month  of  June 
following,  Peyton  Randolph,  our  chairman,  told  me  that  mes 
sengers,  bearing  despatches  between  the  two  States,  had  crossed 
each  other  by  the  way  ;  that  of  Virginia  carrying  our  propositions 
for  a  committee  of  national  correspondence,  and  that  of  Massa 
chusetts  bringing,  as  my  memory  suggested,  a  similar  proposi 
tion.  But  here  I  must  have  misremembered  ;  and  the  resolutions 
brought  us  from  Massachusetts  were  probably  those  you  mention 
of  the  town  meeting  of  Boston,  on  the  motion  of  Mr.  Samuel 
Adams,  appointing  a  committee  "  to  state  the  rights  of  the  colo 
nists,  and  of  that  province  in  particular,  and  the  infringements 
of  them,  to  communicate  them  to  the  several  towns,  as  the  sense 
of  the  town  of  Boston,  and  to  request  of  each  town  a  free  com 
munication  of  its  sentiments  on  this  subject  "  ?  I  suppose,  there 
fore,  that  these  resolutions  were  not  received,  as  you  think,  while 
the  House  of  Burgesses  was  in  session  in  March,  1773  ;  but  a  few 
days  after  we  rose,  and  were  probably  what  was  sent  by  the 
messenger  who  crossed  ours  by  the  way.  They  may,  however, 
have  been  still  different.  I  must  therefore  have  been  mistaken  in 
supposing  and  stating  to  Mr.  Wirt,  that  the  proposition  of  a  com 
mittee  for  national  correspondence  was  nearly  simultaneous  in 
Virginia  and  Massachusetts. 

A  similar  misapprehension  of  another  passage  in  Mr.  Wirt's 
book,  for  which  I  am  also  quoted,  has  produced  a  similar  reclam 
ation  of  the  part  of  Massachusetts  by  some  of  her  most  distin- 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  129 

guished  and  estimable  citizens.  I  had  been  applied  to  by  Mr. 
Wirt  for  such  facts  respecting  Mr.  Henry,  as  my  intimacy  with 
him,  and  participation  in  the  transactions  of  the  day,  might  have 
placed  within  my  knowledge.  I  accordingly  committed  them 
to  paper,  and  Virginia  being  the  theatre  of  his  action,  was  the 
only  subject  within  my  contemplation,  while  speaking  of  him. 
Of  the  resolutions  and  measures  here,  in  which  he  had  the  ac 
knowledged  lead,  I  used  the  expression  that  "  Mr.  Henry  certainly 
gave  the  first  impulse  to  the  ball  of  revolution."  [Wirt,  p.  41.] 
The  expression  is  indeed  general,  and  in  all  its  extension  would 
comprehend  all  the  sister  States.  But  indulgent  construction 
would  restrain  it,  as  was  really  meant,  to  the  subject  matter  un 
der  contemplation,  which  was  Virginia  alone  ;  according  to  the 
rule  of  the  lawyers,  and  a  fair  canon  of  general  criticism,  that 
every  expression  should  be  construed  secundum  subjectam  mate- 
riem.  Where  the  first  attack  was  made,  there  must  have  been 
of  course,  the  first  act  of  resistance,  and  that  was  of  Massachu 
setts.  Our  first  overt  act  of  war  was  Mr.  Henry's  embodying  a 
force  of  militia  from  several  counties,  regularly  armed  and  organ 
ized,  marching  them  in  military  array,  and  making  reprisal  on 
the  King's  treasury  at  the  seat  of  government  for  the  public 
powder  taken  away  by  his  Governor.  This  was  on  the  last  days 
of  April,  1775.  Your  formal  battle  of  Lexington  was  ten  or 
twelve  days  before  that,  which  greatly  overshadowed  in  import 
ance,  as  it  preceded  in  time  our  little  affray,  which  merely  amounted 
to  a  levying  of  arms  against  the  King,  and  very  possibly  you  had 
had  military  affrays  before  the  regular  battle  of  Lexington. 

These  explanations  will,  I  hope,  assure  you,  Sir,  that  so  far  as 
either  facts  or  opinions  have  been  truly  quoted  from  me  they 
have  never  been  meant  to  intercept  the  just  fame  of  Massachu 
setts,  for  the  promptitude  and  perseverance  of  her  early  resistance. 
We  willingly  cede  to  her  the  laud  of  having  been  (although  not 
exclusively)  "  the  cradle  of  sound  principles,"  and  if  some  of  us 
believe  she  has  deflected  from  them  in  her  course,  we  retain  full 
confidence  in  her  ultimate  return  to  them. 

I  will  now  proceed  to  your  quotation  from  Mr.  Galloway's 
statements  of  what  passed  in  Congress  on  their  declaration  of 
independence,  in  which  statement  there  is  not  one  word  of  truth, 

1 3o  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

and  where,  bearing  some  resemblance  to  truth,  it  is  an  entire  per 
version  of  it.  I  do  not  charge  this  on  Mr.  Galloway  himself ;  his 
desertion  having  taken  place  long  before  these  measures,  he 
doubtless  received  his  information  from  some  of  the  loyal  friends 
whom  he  left  behind  him.  But  as  yourself,  as  well  as  others,  ap 
pear  embarrassed  by  inconsistent  accounts  of  the  proceedings  on 
that  memorable  occasion,  and  as  those  who  have  endeavored  to 
restore  the  truth  have  themselves  committed  some  errors,  I  will 
give  you  some  extracts  from  a  written  document  on  that  subject, 
for  the  truth  of  which  I  pledge  myself  to  heaven  and  earth  ;  hav 
ing,  while  the  question  of  independence  was  under  consideration 
before  Congress,  taken  written  notes,  in  my  seat,  of  what  was 
passing,  and  reduced  them  to  form  on  the  final  conclusion.  I 
have  now  before  me  that  paper,  from  which  the  following  are 
extracts :  *  *  *  » 

Governor  McKean,  in  his  letter  to  McCorkle  of  July  i6th,  1817, 
has  thrown  some  lights  on  the  transactions  of  that  day,  but  trust 
ing  to  his  memory  chiefly  at  an  age  when  our  memories  are  not 
to  be  trusted,  he  has  confounded  two  questions,  and  ascribed 
proceedings  to  one  which  belonged  to  the  other.  These  two 
questions  were,  i.  The  Virginia  motion  of  June  yth  to  declare 
independence,  and  2.  The  actual  declaration,  its  matter  and  form. 
Thus  he  states  the  question  on  the  declaration  itself  as  decided 
on  the  ist  of  July.  But  it  was  the  Virginia  motion  which  was 
voted  on  that  day  in  committee  of  the  whole  ;  South  Carolina,  as 
well  as  Pennsylvania,  then  voting  against  it.  But  the  ultimate 
decision  in  the  House  on  the  report  of  the  committee  being  by 
request  postponed  to  the  next  morning,  all  the  States  voted  for  it, 
except  New  York,  whose  vote  was  delayed  for  the  reason  before 
stated.  It  was  not  till  the  2d  of  July  that  the  declaration  itself 
was  taken  up,  nor  till  the  4th  that  it  was  decided  ;  and  it  was 
signed  by  every  member  present,  except  Mr.  Dickinson. 

The  subsequent  signatures  of  members  who  were  not  then 
present,  and  some  of  them  not  yet  in  office,  is  easily  explained,  if 
we  observe  who  they  were  ;  to  wit,  that  they  were  of  New  York 
and  Pennsylvania.  New  York  did  not  sign  till  the  isth,  because 

1  See  Vol.  I.,  p.  18,  for  the  document  here  omitted. 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  131 

it  was  not  till  the  pth,  (five  days  after  the  general  signature,)  that 
their  convention  authorized  them  to  do  so.  The  convention  of 
Pennsylvania,  learning  that  it  had  been  signed  by  a  minority  only 
of  their  delegates,  named  a  new  delegation  on  the  zoth,  leaving 
out  Mr.  Dickinson,  who  had  refused  to  sign,  Willing  and  Hum 
phreys  who  had  withdrawn,  reappointing  the  three  members  who 
had  signed,  Morris  who  had  not  been  present,  and  five  new  ones, 
to  wit,  Rush,  Clymer,  Smith,  Taylor  and  Ross ;  and  Morris  and 
the  five  new  members  were  permitted  to  sign,  because  it  mani 
fested  the  assent  of  their  full  delegation,  and  the  express  will  of 
their  convention,  which  might  have  been  doubted  on  the  former 
signature  of  a  minority  only.  Why  the  signature  of  Thornton  of 
New  Hampshire  was  permitted  so  late  as  the  4th  of  November,  I 
cannot  now  say  ;  but  undoubtedly  for  some  particular  reason  which 
we  should  find  to  have  been  good,  had  it  been  expressed.  These 
were  the  only  post-signers,  and  you  see,  Sir,  that  there  were  solid 
reasons  for  receiving  those  of  New  York  and  Pennsylvania,  and 
that  this  circumstance  in  no  wise  affects  the  faith  of  this  declara 
tory  charter  of  our  rights  and  of  the  rights  of  man. 

With  a  view  to  correct  errors  of  fact  before  they  become  in 
veterate  by  repetition,  I  have  stated  what  I  find  essentially  ma 
terial  in  my  papers  ;  but  with  that  brevity  which  the  labor  of 
writing  constrains  me  to  use. 

On  the  fourth  particular  articles  of  inquiry  in  your  letter,  re 
specting  your  grandfather,  the  venerable  Samuel  Adams,  neither 
memory  nor  memorandums  enable  me  to  give  any  information. 
I  can  say  that  he  was  truly  a  great  man,  wise  in  council,  fertile 
in  resources,  immovable  in  his  purposes,  and  had,  I  think,  a 
greater  share  than  any  other  member,  in  advising  and  directing 
our  measures,  in  the  northern  war  especially.  As  a  speaker  he 
could  not  be  compared  with  his  living  colleague  and  namesake, 
whose  deep  conceptions,  nervous  style,  and  undaunted  firmness, 
made  him  truly  our  bulwark  in  debate.  But  Mr.  Samuel 
Adams,  although  not  of  fluent  elocution,  was  so  rigorously  logical, 
so  clear  in  his  views,  abundant  in  good  sense,  and  master  always  of 
his  subject,  that  he  commanded  the  most  profound  attention 
whenever  he  rose  in  an  assembly  by  which  the  froth  of  declamation 
was  heard  with  the  most  sovereign  contempt.  I  sincerely  rejoice 

132  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

that  the  record  of  his  worth  is  to  be  undertaken  by  one  so  much 
disposed  as  you  will  be  to  hand  him  down  fairly  to  that  posterity 
for  whose  liberty  and  happiness  he  was  so  zealous  a  laborer. 

With  sentiments  of  sincere  veneration  for  his  memory,  accept 
yourself  this  tribute  to  it  with  the  assurances  of  my  great  respect. 

P.  S.  August  6th,  1822,  since  the  date  of  this  letter,  to  wit, 
this  day,  August  6th,  '22,  I  received  the  new  publication  of  the 
secret  Journals  of  Congress,  wherein  is  stated  a  resolution,  July 
ipth,  1776,  that  the  declaration  passed  on  the  4th  be  fairly  en 
grossed  on  parchment,  and  when  engrossed,  be  signed  by  every 
member  ;  and  another  of  August  2d,  that  being  engrossed  and 
compared  at  the  table,  was  signed  by  the  members.  That  is  to 
say  the  copy  engrossed  on  parchment  (for  durability)  was  signed 
by  the  members  after  being  compared  at  the  table  with  the  original 
one,  signed  on  paper  as  before  stated.  I  add  this  P.  S.  to  the  copy 
of  my  letter  to  Mr.  Wells,  to  prevent  confounding  the  signature  of 
the  original  with  that  of  the  copy  engrossed  on  parchment.1 

1  Jefferson  further  wrote  to  Wells  : 

MONTICELLO,  June  23.  19. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  2d  inst.  has  been  duly  received,  &  I  answer 
your  request  to  make  use  of  the  information  given  in  mine  of  May  12  by  a  free 
permission,  to  employ  it  for  any  purpose  you  may  think  useful.  You  suppose 
that  the  fact  that  six  colonies  were  not  yet  matured  for  a  separation  from  the 
parent  stock  could  not  have  been  known  unless  a  vote  had  been  taken.  Yet 
nothing  easier.  For  the  opinion  of  every  individual  was  known  to  every  one 
who  had  anxiety  enough  on  the  subject  to  scrutinize  and  calculate.  There  was 
neither  concealment  nor  reserve  on  the  subject  on  either  side ;  and  how  the 
vote  of  each  colony  would  be,  if  then  pushed  to  a  vote  was  exactly  ascertainable. 
Nor  does  the  appointment  of  a  Committee  to  prepare  an  instrument  of  con 
federation  offer  ground  of  doubt,  for  that  was  but  a  proposition  to  save  time 
provisionally,  and  subject  to  the  ultimate  negative  of  the  minority.  It  was 
moreover  a  necessary  measure  in  the  opinion  of  all  whether  permanent,  or 
limited  to  the  duration  of  the  controversy.  I  certainly  will  not,  on  the  authority 
of  memory  alone  affirm  facts  in  opposition  to  Mr.  Galloway,  Judge  McKean,  or 
any  one  else.  But  what  I  wrote  on  the  paper  from  which  I  sent  extracts  to 
you,  was  written  on  the  spot,  in  the  moment,  and  is  true  ;  and  all  that  remains 
is  to  reconcile  to  that  the  contradictions  of  others  by  enquiring  whether  they 
may  not  have  confounded  different  subjects,  or  whether  after  such  a  lapse  of 
time  their  memory  has  not  been  more  liable  to  err  than  the  litera  scripta.  Gal 
loway  can  be  no  better  authority  than  the  common  herd  of  passengers  in  the 
streets.  He  knew  nothing  but  the  rumors  of  hearsay  ;  for  he  had  quitted  us 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  133 


MONTICELLO,  June  22.  19. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  Mar.  i.  has  been  duly  received,  and 
requires  my  thanks  for  the  kind  offer  of  your  services  in  London. 
Books  are  indeed  with  me  a  necessary  of  life  ;  and  since  I  ceded 
my  library  to  Congress,  I  have  been  annually  importing  from 
Paris.  Not  but  that  I  need  some  from  London  also,  but  that  they 
have  risen  there  to  such  enormous  prices  as  cannot  be  looked  at. 
England  must  lose  her  foreign  commerce  in  books,  unless  the 
taxes  on  it's  materials  are  reduced.  Paris  now  prints  the  most 
popular  of  the  English  books,  and  sells  them  far  below  the  English 
price.  I  send  there  therefore  for  such  of  them  as  I  want.  We  too 
reprint  now  such  of  the  new  English  works  as  have  merit,  much 
cheaper  than  is  done  in  England,  but  dearer  than  they  ought  to 
be.  But  we  are  now  under  the  operation  of  the  remedy  for  that. 
The  enormous  abuses  of  the  banking  system  are  not  only  pros 
trating  our  commerce,  but  producing  revolution  of  property,  which 
without  more  wisdom  than  we  possess,  will  be  much  greater  than 
were  produced  by  the  revolutionary  paper.  That  too  had  the 
merit  of  purchasing  our  liberties,  while  the  present  trash  has  only 
furnished  aliment  to  usurers  and  swindlers.  The  banks  them- 

long  before.  And  Mr.  McKean  was  very  old,  and  his  memory  much  decayed 
when  he  gave  his  statement. 

The  painting  lately  executed  by  Colo.  Trumbull,  I  have  never  seen,  but  as 
far  back  as  the  days  of  Horace  at  least  we  are  told  that  '  pictoribus  atque 
poetis ;  Quidlibet  audendi  semper  fuit  aequa  potestas.'  He  has  exercised  this 
licentia  pictoris  in  like  manner  in  the  surrender  of  York,  where  he  has  placed 
Ld.  Cornwallis  at  the  head  of  the  surrender  altho'  it  is  well  known  that  he  was 
excused  by  General  Washington  from  appearing. 

Of  the  return  of  Massachusetts  to  sound  principles  I  never  had  a  doubt. 
The  body  of  her  citizens  has  never  been  otherwise  than  republican.  Her 
would-be  dukes  and  lords,  indeed,  have  been  itching  for  coronets  ;  her  lawyers 
for  robes  of  ermin,  her  priests  for  lawn  sleeves,  and  for  a  religious  establish 
ment  which  might  give  them  wealth,  power,  and  independence  of  personal 
merit.  But  her  citizens  who  were  to  supply  with  the  sweat  of  their  brow  the 
treasures  on  which  these  drones  were  to  riot,  could  never  have  seen  any  thing 
to  long  for  in  the  oppressions  and  pauperism  of  England.  After  the  shackles 
of  Aristocracy  of  the  bar  &  priesthood  have  been  burst  by  Connecticut,  we 
cannot  doubt  the  return  of  Massachusetts  to  the  bosom  of  the  republican  family. 

I  repeat  with  pleasure  the  assurance  of  my  great  respect  &  esteem. 

134  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

selves  were  doing  business  on  capitals,  three  fourths  of  which  were 
fictitious  :  and,  to  extend  their  profit  they  furnished  fictitious 
capital  to  every  man,  who  having  nothing  and  disliking  the  labours 
of  the  plough,  chose  rather  to  call  himself  a  merchant  to  set  up  a 
house  of  5000.  D.  a  year  expence,  to  dash  into  every  species  of 
mercantile  gambling,  and  if  that  ended  as  gambling  generally  does, 
a  fraudulent  bankruptcy  was  an  ultimate  resource  of  retirement  and 
competence.  This  fictitious  capital,  probably  of  100.  millions  of 
Dollars,  is  now  to  be  lost,  &  to  fall  on  some  body  ;  it  must  take 
on  those  who  have  property  to  meet  it,  &  probably  on  the  less 
cautious  part,  who,  not  aware  of  the  impending  catastrophe  have 
suffered  themselves  to  contract,  or  to  be  in  debt,  and  must  now 
sacrifice  their  property  of  a  value  many  times  the  amount  of  their 
debt.  We  have  been  truly  sowing  the  wind,  and  are  now  reaping 
the  whirlwind.  If  the  present  crisis  should  end  in  the  annihila 
tion  of  these  pennyless  &  ephemeral  interlopers  only,  and  reduce 
our  commerce  to  the  measure  of  our  own  wants  and  surplus  pro 
ductions,  it  will  be  a  benefit  in  the  end.  But  how  to  effect  this, 
and  give  time  to  real  capital,  and  the  holders  of  real  property,  to 
back  out  of  their  entanglements  by  degrees  requires  more  knolege 
of  Political  economy  than  we  possess.  I  believe  it  might  be  done, 
but  I  despair  of  it's  being  done.  The  eyes  of  our  citizens  are  not 
yet  sufficiently  open  to  the  true  cause  of  our  distresses.  They 
ascribe  them  to  every  thing  but  their  true  cause,  the  banking 
system ;  a  system,  which,  if  it  could  do  good  in  any  form,  is  yet 
so  certain  of  leading  to  abuse,  as  to  be  utterly  incompatible  with 
the  public  safety  and  prosperity.  At  present  all  is  confusion, 
uncertainty  and  panic. 

I  avail  myself  of  your  kindness  to  put  under  the  protection  of 
your  cover  a  letter  to  St.  John  Philippart,  who  requested  it  might 
be  sent  through  your  channel,  and  I  salute  you  with  affectionate 
esteem  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO  June  27.  19. 

DEAR  SIR, — My  letters  of  Jan.  5  and  Nov.  10.  of  the  last  year 
had  informed  you  generally  that  Genl.  Kosciuzko  had  left  a  con- 

1 819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  135 

siderable  sum  of  money  in  the  hands  of  the  US.  and  had,  by  a 
will  deposited  in  my  hands,  disposed  of  it  to  a  charitable  purpose  : 
&  I  asked  the  favor  of  your  opinion  in  what  court  the  will  should 
be  proved.  According  to  that  opinion,  expressed  in  your  favor 
of  Dec.  28  I  proved  the  will  in  our  district  court,  renouncing  the 
executorship.  The  purport  of  the  will  is  that  the  whole  funds  in 
this  country  shall  be  laid  out  in  the  purchase  of  young  negroes, 
in  their  education  &  their  emancipation.  I  had  formerly  intended 
to  get  an  admr  appointed  here  with  the  will  annexed,  and  to  have 
the  trust  placed  entirely  under  the  direction  of  the  court,  but  cir 
cumstances  since  occurring  change  my  view  of  the  case.  Genl. 
Armstrong,  on  behalf  of  his  son  Kosciuzko  Armstrong  has  a  claim 
to  3704.  D.  which  is  well  founded.  A  Mr.  Zoeltner  of  Solense 
the  friend  in  whose  house  Kosciuzko  lived  and  died,  claims  the 
share  under  a  will  deposited  with  him.  This  I  am  persuaded  will 
appear  not  to  reach  the  property  here.  A  relation  of  the  Gen 
eral's  has  lately,  through  the  minister  of  Russia,  Mr.  Poletika, 
claimed  the  whole  also  in  right  of  his  relationship.  These  claim 
ants  being  all  foreigners,  or  of  another  state,  have  a  right  to  place 
the  litigation  in  a  federal  court ;  and  I  have  supposed  the  most 
convenient  one  to  them  would  be  the  district  court  of  Columbia, 
and  my  wish  is  to  transfer  it  there,  if  that  court  will  take  cognis 
ance  and  charge  of  it.  I  suppose  they  would  name  an  Admr 
with  the  will  annexed,  and  that  he  would  require  the  claimant  to 
interplead,  that  the  court  might  decide  the  right.  I  wish  there 
fore  in  the  first  place  to  constitute  you  general  Counsel  for  the 
trust.  You  would  draw  your  compensation  of  course  from  the 
funds  of  the  testator,  and  that  you  would  advise  me  in  what  form 
I  must  apply  to  the  court  to  effect  the  transfer.  I  suppose  by  a 
petition  to  them  in  Chancery,  delivering  to  them  the  will,  and  the 
original  certificates,  which  are  in  my  hands,  and  amount  to 
17,159.63  D.  and  praying  to  be  entirely  relieved  and  discharged 
from  all  further  concern  or  responsibility.  Mr.  Barnes,  who  has 
been  the  agent  in  fact,  will  settle  his  account  of  transactions 
during  the  life  of  the  General.  I  have  none  to  settle,  having 
never  acted  but  thro'  Mr.  Barnes,  and  not  meaning  to  charge  lit 
tle  incidental  disbursements  incurred.  Will  you  undertake  this, 
my  dear  Sir,  and  fnform  me  how  I  am  to  proceed  ?  I  shall  be  at 

136  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

Poplar  Forest  near  Lynchburg  before  you  receive  this,  and  shal  1 
be  there  3.  months.  But  your  answer  will  reach  me  there,  and  I 
mention  it  only  to  explain  beforehand  the  greater  delays  in  the 
correspondence  which  the  greater  distance  of  that  place  may 
occasion.  In  the  hope  therefore  of  hearing  from  you  as  soon  as 
convenient,  and  of  your  aid  in  getting  relief  from  this  charge, 
now  become  too  litigious  for  me,  I  salute  you  with  constant 
friendship  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  July  9,  1819. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  am  in  debt  to  you  for  your  letters  of 
May  the  2ist,  27th,  and  June  the  22d.  The  first, 
delivered  me  by  Mr.  Greenwood,  gave  me  the  grati 
fication  of  his  acquaintance  ;  and  a  gratification  it 
always  is,  to  be  made  acquainted  with  gentlemen  of 
candor,  worth,  and  information,  as  I  found  Mr. 
Greenwood  to  be.  That,  on  the  subject  of  Mr. 
Samuel  Adams  Wells,  shall  not  be  forgotten  in  time 
and  place,  when  it  can  be  used  to  his  advantage. 

But  what  has  attracted  my  peculiar  notice,  is  the 
paper  from  Mecklenburg  county,  of  North  Carolina, 
published  in  the  Essex  Register,  which  you  were  so 
kind  as  to  enclose  in  your  last,  of  June  the  22d.  And 
you  seem  to  think  it  genuine.  I  believe  it  spurious. 
I  deem  it  to  be  a  very  unjustifiable  quiz,  like  that  of 
the  volcano,  so  minutely  related  to  us  as  having 
broken  out  in  North  Carolina,  some  half  a  dozen 
years  ago,  in  that  part  of  the  country,  and  perhaps 
in  that  very  county  of  Mecklenburg,  for  I  do  not  re 
member  its  precise  locality.  If  this  paper  be  really 
taken  from  the  Raleigh  Register,  as  quoted,  I  wonder 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  137 

it  should  have  escaped  Ritchie,  who  culls  what  is 
good  from  every  paper,  as  the  bee  from  every  flower ; 
and  the  National  Intelligencer,  too,  which  is  edited 
by  a  North  Carolinian  ;  and  that  the  fire  should  blaze 
out  all  at  once  in  Essex,  one  thousand  miles  from 
where  the  spark  is  said  to  have  fallen.  But  if  really 
taken  from  the  Raleigh  Register,  who  is  the  narrator, 
and  is  the  name  subscribed  real,  or  is  it  as  fictitious 
as  the  paper  itself?  It  appeals,  too,  to  an  original 
book,  which  is  burnt,  to  Mr.  Alexander,  who  is  dead, 
to  a  joint  letter  from  Caswell,  Hughes,  and  Hooper, 
all  dead,  to  a  copy  sent  to  the  dead  Caswell,  and 
another  sent  to  Doctor  Williamson,  now  probably 
dead,  whose  memory  did  not  recollect,  in  the  history 
he  has  written  of  North  Carolina,  this  gigantic  step 
of  its  county  of  Mecklenburg.  Horry,  too,  is  silent 
in  his  history  of  Marion,  whose  scene  of  action  was 
the  country  bordering  on  Mecklenburg.  Ramsay, 
Marshall,  Jones,  Girardin,  Wirt,  historians  of  the  ad 
jacent  States,  all  silent.  When  Mr.  Henry's  resolu 
tions,  far  short  of  independence,  flew  like  lightning 
through  every  paper,  and  kindled  both  sides  of  the 
Atlantic,  this  flaming  declaration  of  the  same  date, 
of  the  independence  of  Mecklenburg  county,  of  North 
Carolina,  absolving  it  from  the  British  allegiance,  and 
abjuring  all  political  connection  with  that  nation,  al 
though  sent  to  Congress  too,  is  never  heard  of.  It 
is  not  known  even  a  twelvemonth  after,  when  a  simi 
lar  proposition  is  first  made  in  that  body.  Armed 
with  this  bold  example,  would  not  you  have  addressed 
our  timid  brethren  in  peals  of  thunder  on  their  tardy 

138  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

fears  ?  Would  not  every  advocate  of  independence 
have  rung  the  glories  of  Mecklenburg  county  in 
North  Carolina,  in  the  ears  of  the  doubting  Dickin 
son  and  others,  who  hung  so  heavily  on  us  ?  Yet 
the  example  of  independent  Mecklenburg  county,  in 
North  Carolina,  was  never  once  quoted.  The  paper 
speaks,  too,  of  the  continued  exertions  of  their  dele 
gation  (Caswell,  Hooper,  Hughes)  "  in  the  cause  of 
liberty  and  independence."  Now  you  remember  as 
well  as  I  do,  that  we  had  not  a  greater  tory  in  Con 
gress  than  Hooper;  that  Hughes  was  very  wavering, 
sometimes  firm,  sometimes  feeble,  according  as  the 
day  was  clear  or  cloudy  ;  that  Caswell,  indeed,  was  a 
good  whig,  and  kept  these  gentlemen  to  the  notch, 
while  he  was  present ;  but  that  he  left  us  soon,  and 
their  line  of  conduct  became  then  uncertain  until 
Penn  came,  who  fixed  Hughes  and  the  vote  of  the 
State.  I  must  not  be  understood  as  suggesting  any 
doubtfulness  in  the  State  of  North  Carolina.  No 
State  was  more  fixed  or  forward.  Nor  do  I  affirm, 
positively,  that  this  paper  is  a  fabrication  ;  because 
the  proof  of  a  negative  can  only  be  presumptive. 
But  I  shall  believe  it  such  until  positive  and  solemn 
proof  of  its  authenticity  be  produced.  And  if  the 
name  of  McKnitt  be  real,  and  not  a  part  of  the  fabri 
cation,  it  needs  a  vindication  by  the  production  of 
such  proof.  For  the  present,  I  must  be  an  unbeliever 
in  the  apocryphal  gospel. 

I  am  glad  to  learn  that  Mr.  Ticknor  has  safely  re 
turned  to  his  friends ;  but  should  have  been  much 
more  pleased  had  he  accepted  the  Professorship  in 

1819]  THOMA S  JEFFERSON.  \  39 

our  University,  which  we  should  have  offered  him  in 
form.  Mr.  Bowditch,  too,  refuses  us  ;  so  fascinating 
is  the  vinculum  of  the  dulce  natale  solum.  Our  wish 
is  to  procure  natives,  where  they  can  be  found,  like 
these  gentlemen,  of  the  first  order  of  requirement  in 
their  respective  lines  ;  but  preferring  foreigners  of 
the  first  order  to  natives  of  the  second,  we  shall  cer 
tainly  have  to  go  for  several  of  our  Professors,  to 
countries  more  advanced  in  science  than  we  are. 

I  set  out  within  three  or  four  days  for  my  other 
home,  the  distance  of  which,  and  its  cross  mails,  are 
great  impediments  to  epistolary  communications.  I 
shall  remain  there  about  two  months  ;  and  there, 
here,  and  everywhere,  I  am  and  shall  always  be, 
affectionately  and  respectfully  yours. 

TO  JOSEPH    MARX.  j.  MSS. 

Aug.  24,  19. 

SIR, — I  inclose  you  a  renewal  of  the  two  notes  of  10,000  D.  each 
for  which  I  am  by  endorsement  responsible  to  the  US.  bank,  for 
Colo.  W.  C.  Nicholas.  I  do  this  on  his  information  that  it  will 
be  received  as  sufficient  for  60  days  within  which  term  I  will  exe 
cute  a  bond  jointly  with  him  for  the  amount  of  these  notes,  with 
a  third  person  made  acceptable  to  the  bank.  In  seeking  for 
a  3d  name  my  reluctance  at  placing  any  friend  in  the  state  of 
uneasiness  in  which  this  responsibility  would  place  him,  is  in 
superable.  I  greatly  prefer  therefore  what  I  am  told  will  be 
acceptable  to  the  bank,  to  make  a  3d  name  competent  by  a  con 
veyance  of  real  property  abundantly  sufficient  to  cover  the  debt. 
My  grandson  Thos  J.  Randolph  is  the  person  whom  I  should 
chuse  with  the  least  scruple  in  this  business  and  I  will  accord 
ingly  convey  lands  amply  sufficient  for  this  debt,  to  him  in  trust 

140  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

for  it's  payment,  &  as  a  special  security  to  the  bank,  applicable  to 
no  other  purpose  ;  while  this  makes  him  sufficient  as  a  security,  all 
the  rest  of  my  property  is  responsible  for  the  same  debt,  on  the 
ground  of  my  being  separately  bound.  That  it  is  sufficient  for 
many  times  this  amount  is  probably  known,  and  I  assure  you  on 
my  honor  that  not  a  dollar's  worth  of  it  is  under  incumbrance  to 
any  mortal  or  for  any  purpose.  You  shall  receive  the  bond  and 
a  copy  of  the  deed  immediately  after  my  return  to  Monticello, 
which  will  be  within  3.  or  4.  weeks.  Accept  the  assurance  of  my 
great  respect  and  esteem. 


POPLAR  FOREST,  September  6,  1819. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  had  read  in  the  Enquirer,  and  with  great  appro 
bation,  the  pieces  signed  Hampden,  and  have  read  them  again 
with  redoubled  approbation,  in  the  copies  you  have  been  so  kind 
as  to  send  me.  I  subscribe  to  every  tittle  of  them.  They  con 
tain  the  true  principles  of  the  revolution  of  1800,  for  that  was  as 
real  a  revolution  in  the  principles  of  our  government  as  that  of 
1776  was  in  its  form  ;  not  effected  indeed  by  the  sword,  as  that, 
but  by  the  rational  and  peaceable  instrument  of  reform,  the  suf 
frage  of  the  people.  The  nation  declared  its  will  by  dismissing 
functionaries  of  one  principle,  and  electing  those  of  another,  in 
the  two  branches,  executive  and  legislative,  submitted  to  their 
election.  Over  the  judiciary  department,  the  constitution  had 
deprived  them  of  their  control.  That,  therefore,  has  continued 
the  reprobated  system,  and  although  new  matter  has  been  occa 
sionally  incorporated  into  the  old,  yet  the  leaven  of  the  old  mass 
seems  to  assimilate  to  itself  the  new,  and  after  twenty  years'  con 
firmation  of  the  federal  system  by  the  voice  of  the  nation,  declared 
through  the  medium  of  elections,  we  find  the  judiciary  on  every 
occasion,  still  driving  us  into  consolidation. 

In  denying  the  right  they  usurp  of  exclusively  explaining  the 
constitution,  I  go  further  than  you  do,  if  I  understand  rightly 
your  quotation  from  the  Federalist,  of  an  opinion  that  "  the 
judiciary  is  the  last  resort  in  relation  to  the  other  departments  of 
the  government,  but  not  in  relation  to  the  rights  of  the  parties  to 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  141 

the  compact  under  which  the  judiciary  is  derived."  If  this 
opinion  be  sound,  then  indeed  is  our  constitution  a  complete /<?/0 
de  se.  For  intending  to  establish  three  departments,  co-ordinate 
and  independent,  that  they  might  check  and  balance  one  another, 
it  has  given,  according  to  this  opinion,  to  one  of  them  alone,  the 
right  to  prescribe  rules  for  the  government  of  the  others,  and  to 
that  one  too,  which  is  unelected  by,  and  independent  of  the 
nation.  For  experience  has  already  shown  that  the  impeachment 
it  has  provided  is  not  even  a  scare-crow  ;  that  such  opinions  as 
the  one  you  combat,  sent  cautiously  out,  as  you  observe  also,  by 
detachment,  not  belonging  to  the  case  often,  but  sought  for  out 
of  it,  as  if  to  rally  the  public  opinion  beforehand  to  their  views, 
and  to  indicate  the  line  they  are  to  walk  in,  have  been  so  quietly 
passed  over  as  never  to  have  excited  animadversion,  even  in  a 
speech  of  any  one  of  the  body  entrusted  with  impeachment. 
The  constitution,  on  this  hypothesis,  is  a  mere  thing  of  wax  in 
the  hands  of  the  judiciary,  which  they  may  twist  and  shape  into 
any  form  they  please.  It  should  be  remembered,  as  an  axiom  of 
eternal  truth  in  politics,  that  whatever  power  in  any  government 
is  independent,  is  absolute  also  ;  in  theory  only,  at  first,  while  the 
spirit  of  the  people  is  up,  but  in  practice,  as  fast  as  that  relaxes. 
Independence  can  be  trusted  nowhere  but  with  the  people  in 
mass.  They  are  inherently  independent  of  all  but  moral  law. 
My  construction  of  the  constitution  is  very  different  from  that 
you  quote.  It  is  that  each  department  is  truly  independent  of 
the  others,  and  has  an  equal  right  to  decide  for  itself  what  is  the 
meaning  of  the  constitution  in  the  cases  submitted  to  its  action  ; 
and  especially,  where  it  is  to  act  ultimately  and  without  appeal. 
I  will  explain  myself  by  examples,  which,  having  occurred  while 
I  was  in  office,  are  better  known  to  me,  and  the  principles  which 
governed  them. 

A  legislature  had  passed  the  sedition  law.  The  federal  courts 
had  subjected  certain  individuals  to  its  penalties  of  fine  and  im 
prisonment.  On  coming  into  office,  I  released  these  individuals 
by  the  power  of  pardon  committed  to  executive  discretion,  which 
could  never  be  more  properly  exercised  than  where  citizens  were 
suffering  without  the  authority  of  law,  or,  which  was  equivalent, 
under  a  law  unauthorized  by  the  constitution,  and  therefore  null. 

i42  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

In  the  case  of  Marbury  and  Madison,  the  federal  judges  declared 
that  commissions,  signed  and  sealed  by  the  President,  were  valid, 
although  not  delivered.  I  deemed  delivery  essential  to  complete 
a  deed,  which,  as  long  as  it  remains  in  the  hands  of  the  party,  is 
as  yet  no  deed,  it  is  in  posse  only,  but  not  in  csse,  and  I  with 
held  delivery  of  the  commissions.  They  cannot  issue  a  man 
damus  to  the  President  or  legislature,  or  to  any  of  their  officers.1 

When  the  British  treaty  of arrived,  without  any  provision 

against  the  impressment  of  our  seamen,  I  determined  not  to  ratify 
it.  The  Senate  thought  I  should  ask  their  advice.  I  thought 
that  would  be  a  mockery  of  them,  when  I  was  predetermined 
against  following  it,  should  they  advise  its  ratification.  The  con 
stitution  had  made  their  advice  necessary  to  confirm  a  treaty,  but 
not  to  reject  it.  This  has  been  blamed  by  some  ;  but  I  have  never 
doubted  its  soundness.  In  the  cases  of  two  persons,  antcnati,  under 
exactly  similar  circumstances,  the  federal  court  had  determined 
that  one  of  them  (Duane)  was  not  a  citizen  ;  the  House  of  Repre 
sentatives  nevertheless  determined  that  the  other  (Smith,  of  South 
Carolina)  was  a  citizen,  and  admitted  him  to  his  seat  in  their 
body.  Duane  was  a  republican,  and  Smith  a  federalist,  and  these 
decisions  were  made  during  the  federal  ascendancy. 

These  are  examples  of  my  position,  that  each  of  the  three  de 
partments  has  equally  the  right  to  decide  for  itself  what  is  its  duty 
under  the  constitution,  without  any  regard  to  what  the  others  may 
have  decided  for  themselves  under  a  similar  question.  But  you 
intimate  a  wish  that  my  opinion  should  be  known  on  this  subject. 
No,  dear  Sir,  I  withdraw  from  all  contests  of  opinion,  and  resign 
everything  cheerfully  to  the  generation  now  in  place.  They  are 
wiser  than  we  were,  and  their  successors  will  be  wiser  than  they, 
from  the  progressive  advance  of  science.  Tranquillity  is  the 
summum  bonum  of  age.  I  wish,  therefore,  to  offend  no  man's 
opinion,  nor  to  draw  disquieting  animadversions  on  my  own. 
While  duty  required  it,  I  met  opposition  with  a  firm  and  fearless 
step.  But  loving  mankind  in  my  individual  relations  with  them, 
I  pray  to  be  permitted  to  depart  in  their  peace  ;  and  like  the 
superannuated  soldier,  " quadragenis  stipendiis  enteritis"  to  hang 

1  The  constitution  controlling  the  common  law  in  this  particular, — T.  J. 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  143 

my  arms  on  the  post.  I  have  unwisely,  I  fear,  embarked  in  an 
enterprise  of  great  public  concern,  but  not  to  be  accomplished 
within  my  term,  without  their  liberal  and  prompt  support.  A 
severe  illness  the  last  year,  and  another  from  which  I  am  just 
emerged,  admonish  me  that  repetitions  may  be  expected,  against 
which  a  declining  frame  cannot  long  bear  up.  I  am  anxious, 
therefore,  to  get  our  University  so  far  advanced  as  may  encourage 
the  public  to  persevere  to  its  final  accomplishment.  That  secured, 
I  shall  sing  my  nunc  demittas.  I  hope  your  labors  will  be  long 
continued  in  the  spirit  in  which  they  have  always  been  exercised, 
in  maintenance  of  those  principles  on  which  I  verily  believe  the 
future  happiness  of  our  country  essentially  depends.  I  salute  you 
with  affectionate  and  great  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  October  31,  1819. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  2ist  is  received.  My  late  illness, 
in  which  you  are  so  kind  as  to  feel  an  interest,  was  produced  by  a 
spasmodic  stricture  of  the  ilium,  which  came  upon  me  on  the  7th 
inst.  The  crisis  was  short,  passed  over  favorably  on  the  fourth 
day,  and  I  should  soon  have  been  well  but  that  a  dose  of  calomel 
and  jalap,  in  which  were  only  eight  or  nine  grains  of  the  former, 
brought  on  a  salivation.  Of  this,  however,  nothing  now  remains 
but  a  little  soreness  of  the  mouth.  I  have  been  able  to  get  on 
horseback  for  three  or  four  days  past. 

As  you  say  of  yourself,  I  too  am  an  Epicurian.  I  consider  the 
genuine  (not  the  imputed)  doctrines  of  Epicurus  as  containing 
everything  rational  in  moral  philosophy  which  Greece  and  Rome 
have  left  us.  Epictetus  indeed,  has  given  us  what  was  good  of  the 
stoics  ;  all  beyond,  of  their  dogmas,  being  hypocrisy  and  grimace. 
Their  great  crime  was  in  their  calumnies  of  Epicurus  and  mis 
representations  of  his  doctrines ;  in  which  we  lament  to  see  the 
candid  character  of  Cicero  engaging  as  an  accomplice.  Diffuse, 
vapid,  rhetorical,  but  enchanting.  His  prototype  Plato,  eloquent 
as  himself,  dealing  out  mysticisms  incomprehensible  to  the  human 
mind,  has  been  deified  by  certain  sects  usurping  the  name  of 

144  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

Christians  ;  because,  in  his  foggy  conceptions,  they  found  a  basis 
of  impenetrable  darkness  whereon  to  rear  fabrications  as  delirious, 
of  their  own  invention.  These  they  fathered  blasphemously  on 
him  whom  they  claimed  as  their  founder,  but  who  would  disclaim 
them  with  the  indignation  which  their  caricatures  of  his  religion 
so  justly  excite.  Of  Socrates  we  have  nothing  genuine  but  in  the 
Memorabilia  of  Xenophon  ;  for  Plato  makes  him  one  of  his  Col 
locutors  merely  to  cover  his  own  whimsies  under  the  mantle  of  his 
name  ;  a  liberty  of  which  we  are  told  Socrates  himself  complained. 
Seneca  is  indeed  a  fine  moralist,  disfiguring  his  work  at  times  with 
some  Stoicisms,  and  affecting  too  much  of  antithesis  and  point, 
yet  giving  us  on  the  whole  a  great  deal  of  sound  and  practical 
morality.  But  the  greatest  of  all  the  reformers  of  the  depraved 
religion  of  his  own  country,  was  Jesus  of  Nazareth.  Abstracting 
what  is  really  his  from  the  rubbish  in  which  it  is  buried,  easily 
distinguished  by  its  lustre  from  the  dross  of  his  biographers,  and 
as  separable  from  that  as  the  diamond  from  the  dunghill,  we  have 
the  outlines  of  a  system  of  the  most  sublime  morality  which  has 
ever  fallen  from  the  lips  of  man  ;  outlines  which  it  is  lamentable 
he  did  not  live  to  fill  up.  Epictetus  and  Epicurus  give  laws  for 
governing  ourselves,  Jesus  a  supplement  of  the  duties  and  charities 
we  owe  to  others.  The  establishment  of  the  innocent  and  genuine 
character  of  this  benevolent  moralist,  and  the  rescuing  it  from  the 
imputation  of  imposture,  which  has  resulted  from  artificial  systems,1 
invented  by  ultra- Christian  sects,  unauthorized  by  a  single  word 
ever  uttered  by  him,  is  a  most  desirable  object,  and  one  to  which 
Priestley  has  successfully  devoted  his  labors  and  learning.  It 
would  in  time,  it  is  to  be  hoped,  effect  a  quiet  euthanasia  of  the 
heresies  of  bigotry  and  fanaticism  which  have  so  long  triumphed 
over  human  reason,  and  so  generally  and  deeply  afflicted  man 
kind  ;  but  this  work  is  to  be  begun  by  winnowing  the  grain  from 
the  chaff  of  the  historians  of  his  life.  I  have  sometimes  thought 
of  translating  Epictetus  (for  he  has  never  been  tolerable  translated 
into  English)  by  adding  the  genuine  doctrines  of  Epicurus  from 

1  e.  g.  The  immaculate  conception  of  Jesus,  his  deification,  the  creation  of  the 
world  by  him,  his  miraculous  powers,  his  resurrection  and  visible  ascension,  his 
corporeal  presence  in  the  Eucharist,  the  Trinity ;  original  sin,  atonement,  re 
generation,  election,  orders  of  Hierarchy,  &c. — T.  J. 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  145 

the  Syntagma  of  Gassendi,  and  an  abstract  from  the  Evangelists 
of  whatever  has  the  stamp  of  the  eloquence  and  fine  imagination 
of  Jesus.  The  last  I  attempted  too  hastily  some  twelve  or  fifteen 
years  ago.  It  was  the  work  of  two  or  three  nights  only,  at  Wash 
ington,  after  getting  through  the  evening  task  of  reading  the  letters 
and  papers  of  the  day.  But  with  one  foot  in  the  grave,  these  are 
now  idle  projects  for  me.  My  business  is  to  beguile  the  weari- 
someness  of  declining  life,  as  I  endeavor  to  do,  by  the  delights  of 
classical  reading  and  of  mathematical  truths,  and  by  the  consola 
tions  of  a  sound  philosophy,  equally  indifferent  to  hope  and  fear. 

I  take  the  liberty  of  observing  that  you  are  not  a  true  disciple 
of  our  master  Epicurus,  in  indulging  the  indolence  to  which  you 
say  you  are  yielding.  One  of  his  canons,  you  know,  was  that 
"  the  indulgence  which  prevents  a  greater  pleasure,  or  produces  a 
greater  pain,  is  to  be  avoided."  Your  love  of  repose  will  lead,  in 
its  progress,  to  a  suspension  of  healthy  exercise,  a  relaxation  of 
mind,  an  indifference  to  everything  around  you,  and  finally  to  a 
debility  of  body,  and  hebetude  of  mind,  the  farthest  of  all  things 
from  the  happiness  which  the  well-regulated  indulgences  of  Epi 
curus  ensure ;  fortitude,  you  know,  is  one  of  his  four  cardinal 
virtues.  That  teaches  us  to  meet  and  surmount  difficulties  ;  not 
to  fly  from  them,  like  cowards  ;  and  to  fly,  too,  in  vain,  for  they 
will  meet  and  arrest  us  at  every  turn  of  our  road.  Weigh  this 
matter  well ;  brace  yourself  up  ;  take  a  seat  with  Correa,  and 
come  and  see  the  finest  portion  of  your  country,  which,  if  you 
have  not  forgotten,  you  still  do  not  know,  because  it  is  no  longer 
the  same  as  when  you  knew  it.  It  will  add  much  to  the  happi 
ness  of  my  recovery  to  be  able  to  receive  Correa  and  yourself, 
and  prove  the  estimation  in  which  I  hold  you  both.  Come,  too, 
and  see  our  incipient  University,  which  has  advanced  with  great 
activity  this  year.  By  the  end  of  the  next,  we  shall  have  elegant 
accommodations  for  seven  professors,  and  the  year  following  the 
professors  themselves.  No  secondary  character  will  be  received 
among  them.  Either  the  ablest  which  America  or  Europe  can 
furnish,  or  none  at  all.  They  will  give  us  the  selected  society 
of  a  great  city  separated  from  the  dissipations  and  levities  of  its 
ephemeral  insects. 

I  am  glad  the  bust  of  Condorcet  has  been  saved  and  so  well 

VOL.   X. — 10 

i46  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

placed.  His  genius  should  be  before  us ;  while  the  lamentable, 
but  singular  act  of  ingratitude  which  tarnished  his  latter  days, 
may  be  thrown  behind  us. 

I  will  place  under  this  a  syllabus  of  the  doctrines  of  Epicurus,1 
somewhat  in  the  lapidary  style,  which  I  wrote  some  twenty  years 
ago,  a  like  one  of  the  philosophy  of  Jesus,  of  nearly  the  same  age? 
is  too  long  to  be  copied.  Vale,  et  tibi persuade  carissimum  te  essc 


MONTICELLO,  November  7,  1819. 

DEAR  SIR, — Three  long  and  dangerous  illnesses 
within  the  last  twelve  months,  must  apologize  for  my 
long  silence  towards  you. 

1  Syllabus  of  the  doctrines  of  Epicurus. 

Physical. — The  Universe  eternal. 

Its  parts,  great  and  small,  interchangeable. 

Matter  and  Void  alone. 

Motion  inherent  in  matter  which  is  weighty  and  declining. 

Eternal  circulation  of  the  elements  of  bodies. 

Gods,  an  order  of  beings  next  superior  to  man,  enjoying  in  their  sphere,  their 
own  felicities  ;  but  not  meddling  with  the  concerns  of  the  scale  of  beings  below 

Moral. — Happiness  the  aim  of  life. 

Virtue  the  foundation  of  happiness. 

Utility  the  test  of  virtue. 

Pleasure  active  and  In-do-lent. 

In-do-lence  is  the  absence  of  pain,  the  true  felicity. 

Active,  consists  in  agreeable  motion  ;  it  is  not  happiness,  but  the  means  to 
produce  it. 

Thus  the  absence  of  hunger  is  an  article  of  felicity  ;  eating  the  means  to  ob 
tain  it. 

The  summum  bonum  is  to  be  not  pained  In  body,  nor  troubled  in  mind. 

»'.  e.  In-do-lence  of  body,  tranquillity  of  mind. 

To  procure  tranquillity  of  mind  we  must  avoid  desire  and  fear,  the  two 
principal  diseases  of  the  mind. 

Man  is  a  free  agent. 

Virtue  consists  in  i .  Prudence.     2.  Temperance.    3.  Fortitude.    4.  Justice. 

To  which  are  opposed,  I.  Folly.     2.  Desire.     3.  Fear.     4.  Deceit. 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  147 

The  paper  bubble  is  then  burst.  This  is  what  you 
and  I,  and  every  reasoning  man,  seduced  by  no  ob 
liquity  of  mind  or  interest,  have  long  foreseen  ;  yet 
its  disastrous  effects  are  not  the  less  for  having  been 
foreseen.  We  were  laboring  under  a  dropsical  fulness 
of  circulating  medium.  Nearly  all  of  it  is  now  called 
in  by  the  banks,  who  have  the  regulation  of  the  safety- 
valves  of  our  fortunes,  and  who  condense  and  explode 
them  at  their  will.  Lands  in  this  State  cannot  now 
be  sold  for  a  year's  rent ;  and  unless  our  Legislature 
have  wisdom  enough  to  effect  a  remedy  by  a  gradual 
diminution  only  of  the  medium,  there  will  be  a  general 
revolution  of  property  in  this  State.  Over  our  own 
paper  and  that  of  other  States  coming  among  us,  they 
have  competent  powers ;  over  that  of  the  bank  of  the 
United  States  there  is  doubt,  not  here,  but  elsewhere. 
That  bank  will  probably  conform  voluntarily  to  such 
regulations  as  the  Legislature  may  prescribe  for  the 
others.  If  they  do  not,  we  must  shut  their  doors,  and 
join  the  other  States  which  deny  the  right  of  Congress 
to  establish  banks,  and  solicit  them  to  agree  to  some 
mode  of  settling  this  constitutional  question.  They 
have  themselves  twice  decided  against  their  right, 
and  twice  for  it.  Many  of  the  States  have  been  uni 
form  in  denying  it,  and  between  such  parties  the  Con 
stitution  has  provided  no  umpire.  I  do  not  know 
particularly  the  extent  of  this  distress  in  the  other 
States ;  but  southwardly  and  westwardly  I  believe  all 
are  involved  in  it.  God  bless  you,  and  preserve  you 
many  years. 

148  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 


MONTICELLO,  November  10,  1819. 

SIR, — Your  letter,  and  the  draught  of  a  memorial  proposed  to 
be  presented  to  the  Legislature,  are  duly  received.  With  respect 
to  impressions  from  any  differences  of  political  opinion,  whether 
major  or  minor,  alluded  to  in  your  letter,  I  have  none.  I  left 
them  all  behind  me  on  quitting  Washington,  where  alone  the 
state  of  things  had,  till  then,  required  some  attention  to  them. 
Nor  was  that  the  lightest  part  of  the  load  I  was  there  disbur- 
thened  of;  and  could  I  permit  myself  to  believe  that  with  the 
change  of  circumstances  a  corresponding  change  had  taken  place 
in  the  minds  of  those  who  differed  from  me,  and  that  I  now  stand 
in  the  peace  and  good  will  of  my  fellow-citizens  generally,  it 
would  indeed  be  a  sweetening  ingredient  in  the  last  dregs  of  my 
life.  It  is  not  then  from  that  source  that  my  testimony  may  be 
scanty,  but  from  a  decaying  memory,  illy  retaining  things  of  re 
cent  transaction,  and  scarcely  with  any  distinctness  those  of  forty 
years  back,  the  period  to  which  your  memorial  refers  :  general 
impressions  of  them  remain,  but  details  are  mostly  obliterated. 

Of  the  transfer  of  your  corps  from  the  general  to  the  State 
line,  and  the  other  facts  in  the  memorial  preceding  my  entrance 
on  the  administration  of  the  State  government,  June  2,  1779,  I» 
of  course,  have  no  knowledge  ;  but  public  documents,  as  well  as 
living  witnesses,  will  probably  supply  this.  In  1780,  I  remember 
your  appointment  to  a  command  in  the  militia  sent  under  General 
Stevens  to  the  aid  of  the  Carolinas,  of  which  fact  the  commission 
signed  by  myself  is  sufficient  proof.  But  I  have  no  particular 
recollections  which  respect  yourself  personally  in  that  service. 
Of  what  took  place  during  Arnold's  invasion  in  the  subsequent 
winter  I  have  more  knowledge,  because  so  much  passed  under  my 
own  eye,  and  I  have  the  benefit  of  some  notes  to  aid  my  memory. 
In  the  short  interval  of  fifty-seven  hours  between  our  knowing 
they  had  entered  James  river  and  their  actual  debarkation  at 
Westover,  we  could  get  together  but  a  small  body  of  militia,  (my 
notes  say  of  three  hundred  men  only,)  chiefly  from  the  city  and 
its  immediate  vicinities.  You  were  placed  in  the  command  of 
these,  and  ordered  to  proceed  to  the  neighborhood  of  the  enemy, 
not  with  any  view  to  face  them  directly  with  so  small  a  force,  but 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  149 

to  hang  on  their  skirts,  and  to  check  their  march  as  much  as 
could  be  done,  to  give  time  for  the  more  distant  militia  to  assem 
ble.  The  enemy  were  not  to  be  delayed,  however,  and  were  in 
Richmond  in  twenty-four  hours  from  their  being  formed  on  shore 
at  Westover.  The  day  before  their  arrival  at  Richmond,  I  had 
sent  my  family  to  Tuckahoe,  as  the  memorial  states,  at  which 
place  I  joined  them  about  i  o'clock  of  that  night,  having  attended 
late  at  Westham,  to  have  the  public  stores  and  papers  thrown 
across  the  river.  You  came  up  to  us  at  Tuckahoe  the  next  morn 
ing,  and  accompanied  me,  1  think,  to  Britton's  opposite  Westham, 
to  see  about  the  further  safety  of  the  arms  and  other  property. 
Whether  you  stayed  there  to  look  after  them,  or  went  with  me  to 
the  heights  of  Manchester,  and  returned  thence  to  Britton's,  I  do 
not  recollect.  The  enemy  evacuated  Richmond  at  noon  on  the  5th 
of  January,  having  remained  there  but  twenty-three  hours.  I  re 
turned  to  it  in  the  morning  of  the  8th,  they  being  still  encamped 
at  Westover  and  Berkley,  and  yourself  and  corps  at  the  Forest. 
They  re-embarked  at  i  o'clock  of  the  loth.  The  particulars  of 
your  movements  down  the  river,  to  oppose  their  re-landing  at  dif 
ferent  points,  I  do  not  specifically  recollect,  but,  as  stated  in  the 
memorial,  they  are  so  much  in  agreement  with  my  general  impres 
sions,  that  I  have  no  doubt  of  their  correctness,  and  I  know  that 
your  conduct  from  the  first  advance  of  the  enemy  to  his  depart 
ure,  was  approved  by  myself  and  by  others  generally.  The 
rendezvous  of  the  militia  at  the  Tuckahoe  bridge,  and  your  hav 
ing  the  command  of  them,  I  think  I  also  remember,  but  nothing 
of  their  subsequent  movements.  The  legislature  had  adjourned 
to  meet  at  Charlottesville,  where,  at  the  expiration  of  my  second 
year,  I  declined  a  re-election  in  the  belief  that  a  military  man 
would  be  more  likely  to  render  services  adequate  to  the  exigencies 
of  the  times.  Of  the  subsequent  facts,  therefore,  stated  in  the 
memorial,  I  have  no  knowledge. 

This,  Sir,  is  the  sum  of  the  information  I  am  able  to  give  on 
the  subjects  of  your  memorial,  and  if  it  may  contribute  to  the 
purposes  of  justice  in  your  case,  I  shall  be  happy  that  in  bearing 
testimony  to  the  truth,  I  shall  have  rendered  you  a  just  service 
I  return  the  memorial  and  commission,  as  requested,  and  pray  you 
to  accept  my  respectful  salutations. 

150  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

TO     WILLIAM     C.     RIVES.  J.  MSS. 

MONTICELLO,  November  28,  1819. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  distresses  of  our  country,  produced  first  by  the 
flood,  then  by  the  ebb  of  bank  paper,  are  such  as  cannot  fail  to 
engage  the  interposition  of  the  legislature.  Many  propositions 
will,  of  course,  be  offered,  from  all  of  which  something  may  prob 
ably  be  culled  to  make  a  good  whole.  I  explained  to  you  my 
project,  when  I  had  the  pleasure  of  possessing  you  here ;  and  I 
now  send  its  outline  in  writing,  as  I  believe  I  promised  you. 
Although  preferable  things  will  I  hope  be  offered,  yet  some  twig 
of  this  may  perhaps  be  thought  worthy  of  being  engrafted  on  a 
better  stock.  But  I  send  it  with  no  particular  object  or  request, 
but  to  use  it  as  you  please.  Suppress  it,  suggest  it,  sound  opin 
ions,  or  anything  else,  at  will,  only  keeping  my  name  unmentioned, 
for  which  purpose  it  is  copied  in  another  hand,  being  ever  solicit 
ous  to  avoid  all  offence  which  is  heavily  felt,  when  retired  from 
the  bustle  and  contentions  of  the  world.  If  we  suffer  the  moral 
of  the  present  lesson  to  pass  away  without  improvement  by  the 
eternal  suppression  of  bank/0/ter,  then  indeed  is  the  condition  of 
our  country  desperate,  until  the  slow  advance  of  public  instruc 
tion  shall  give  to  our  functionaries  the  wisdom  of  their  station. 
Vale,  et  tibi  persuade  carissimum  te  mihi  esse.1 

1  Plan  for  reducing  the  circulating  medium . 

The  plethory  of  circulating  medium  which  raised  the  prices  of  everything  to 
several  times  their  ordinary  and  standard  value,  in  which  state  of  things  many 
and  heavy  debts  were  contracted  ;  and  the  sudden  withdrawing  too  great  a  pro 
portion  of  that  medium,  and  reduction  of  prices  far  below  that  standard,  con 
stitutes  the  disease  under  which  we  are  now  laboring,  and  which  must  end  in  a 
general  revolution  of  property,  if  some  remedy  is  not  applied.  That  remedy  is 
clearly  a  gradual  reduction  of  the  medium  to  its  standard  level,  that  is  to  say, 
to  the  level  which  a  metallic  medium  will  always  find  for  itself,  so  as  to  be  in 
equilibro  with  that  of  the  nations  with  which  we  have  commerce. 

To  effect  this, 

Let  the  whole  of  the  present  paper  medium  be  suspended  in  its  circulation 
after  a  certain  and  not  distant  day. 

Ascertain  by  proper  inquiry  the  greatest  sum  of  it  which  has  at  any  one  time 
been  in  actual  circulation. 

Take  a  certain  term  of  years  for  its  gradual  reduction,  suppose  it  to  be  five 
years  ;  then  let  the  solvent  banks  issue  \  of  that  amount  in  new  notes,  to  be  at- 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  151 

TO    JOHN    ADAMS.  J.  MSS. 

MONTICELLO,  December  10,  1819. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of 
your  favor  of  November  the  23d.  The  banks,  bank- 
tested  by  a  public  officer,  as  a  security  that  neither  more  or  less  is  issued,  and 
to  be  given  out  in  exchange  for  the  suspended  notes,  and  the  surplus  in  discount. 

Let  £th  of  these  notes  bear  on  their  face  that  the  bank  will  discharge  them 
with  specie  at  the  end  of  one  year  ;  another  5th  at  the  end  of  two  years  ;  a  third 
5th  at  the  end  of  three  years  ;  and  so  of  the  4th  and  5th.  They  will  be  sure  to 
be  brought  in  at  their  respective  periods  of  redemption. 

Make  it  a  high  offence  to  receive  or  pass  within  this  State  a  note  of  any 

There  is  little  doubt  that  our  banks  will  agree  readily  to  this  operation  ;  if 
they  refuse,  declare  their  charters  forfeited  by  their  former  irregularities,  and 
give  summary  process  against  them  for  the  suspended  notes. 

The  Bank  of  the  United  States  will  probably  concur  also  ;  if  not,  shut  their 
doors  and  join  the  other  States  in  respectful,  but  firm  applications  to  Congress, 
to  concur  in  constituting  a  tribunal  (a  special  convention,  e.  g.)  for  settling 
amicably  the  question  of  their  right  to  institute  a  bank,  and  that  also  of  the 
States  to  do  the  same. 

A  stay-law  for  the  suspension  of  executions,  and  their  discharge  at  five  annual 
instalments,  should  be  accommodated  to  these  measures. 

Interdict  forever,  to  both  the  State  and  national  governments,  the  power  of 
establishing  any  paper  bank  ;  for  without  this  interdiction,  we  shall  have  the 
same  ebbs  and  flows  of  medium,  and  the  same  revolutions  of  property  to  go 
through  every  twenty  or  thirty  years. 

In  this  way  the  value  of  property,  keeping  pace  nearly  with  the  sum  of  cir 
culating  medium,  will  descend  gradually  to  its  proper  level,  at  the  rate  of  about 
£  every  year,  the  sacrifices  of  what  shall  be  sold  for  payment  of  the  first  instal 
ments  of  debts  will  be  moderate,  and  time  will  be  given  for  economy  and  indus 
try  to  come  in  aid  of  those  subsequent.  Certainly  no  nation  ever  before 
abandoned  to  the  avarice  and  jugglings  of  private  individuals  to  regulate,  ac 
cording  to  their  own  interests,  the  quantum  of  circulating  medium  for  the  nation, 
to  inflate,  by  deluges  of  paper,  the  nominal  prices  of  property,  and  then  to  buy 
up  that  property  at  is.  in  the  pound,  having  first  withdrawn  the  floating  medium 
which  might  endanger  a  competition  in  purchase.  Yet  this  is  what  has  been 
done,  and  will  be  done,  unless  stayed  by  the  protecting  hand  of  the  legislature. 
The  evil  has  been  produced  by  the  error  of  their  sanction  of  this  ruinous  ma 
chinery  of  banks  ;  and  justice,  wisdom,  duty,  all  require  that  they  should  inter 
pose  and  arrest  it  before  the  schemes  of  plunder  and  spoliation  desolate  the 
country.  It  is  believed  that  Harpies  are  already  hoarding  their  money  to  com 
mence  these  scenes  on  the  separation  of  the  legislature  ;  and  we  know  that  lands 
have  been  already  sold  under  the  hammer  for  less  than  a  year's  rent. 

152  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1819 

rupt  law,  manufactures,  Spanish  treaty,  are  nothing. 
These  are  occurrences  which,  like  waves  in  a  storm, 
will  pass  under  the  ship.  But  the  Missouri  question 
is  a  breaker  on  which  we  lose  the  Missouri  country  by 
revolt,  and  what  more,  God  only  knows.  From  the 
battle  of  Bunker's  Hill  to  the  treaty  of  Paris,  we  never 
had  so  ominous  a  question.  It  even  damps  the  joy 
with  which  I  hear  of  your  high  health,  and  welcomes 
to  me  the  consequences  of  my  want  of  it.  I  thank 
God  that  I  shall  not  live  to  witness  its  issue.  Sed 
hcec  hactenus. 

I  have  been  amusing  myself  latterly  with  reading 
the  voluminous  letters  of  Cicero.  They  certainly 
breathe  the  purest  effusions  of  an  exalted  patriot,  while 
the  parricide  Caesar  is  lost  in  odious  contrast.  When 
the  enthusiasm,  however,  kindled  by  Cicero's  pen 
and  principles,  subsides  into  cool  reflection,  I  ask  my 
self,  what  was  that  government  which  the  virtues  of 
Cicero  were  so  zealous  to  restore,  and  the  ambition 
of  Caesar  to  subvert  ?  And  if  Caesar  had  been  as  vir 
tuous  as  he  was  daring  and  sagacious,  what  could  he, 
even  in  the  plenitude  of  his  usurped  power,  have 
done  to  lead  his  fellow  citizens  into  good  government  ? 
I  do  not  say  to  restore  it,  because  they  never  had  it, 
from  the  rape  of  the  Sabines  to  the  ravages  of  the 
Caesars.  If  their  people  indeed  had  been,  like  our 
selves,  enlightened,  peaceable,  and  really  free,  the 
answer  would  be  obvious.  "  Restore  independence 
to  all  your  foreign  conquests,  relieve  Italy  from  the 
government  of  the  rabble  of  Rome,  consult  it  as  a 
nation  entitled  to  self-government,  and  do  its  will." 

1819]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  153 

But  steeped  in  corruption,  vice  and  venality,  as  the 
whole  nation  was,  (and  nobody  had  done  more  than 
Csesar  to  corrupt  it,)  what  could  even  Cicero,  Cato, 
Brutus  have  done,  had  it  been  referred  to  them  to 
establish  a  good  government  for  their  country  ?  They 
had  no  ideas  of  government  themselves,  but  of  their 
degenerate  Senate,  nor  the  people  of  liberty,  but  of 
the  factious  opposition  of  their  Tribunes.  They  had 
afterwards  their  Tituses,  their  Trajans  and  Antoni- 
nuses,  who  had  the  will  to  make  them  happy,  and  the 
power  to  mould  their  government  into  a  good  and 
permanent  form.  But  it  would  seem  as  if  they  could 
not  see  their  way  clearly  to  do  it.  No  government 
can  continue  good,  but  under  the  control  of  the  peo 
ple  ;  and  their  people  were  so  demoralized  and  de 
praved,  as  to  be  incapable  of  exercising  a  wholesome 
control.  Their  reformation  then  was  to  be  taken  up 
ab  incunabulis.  Their  minds  were  to  be  informed  by 
education  what  is  right  and  what  wrong ;  to  be  en 
couraged  in  habits  of  virtue,  and  deterred  from  those 
of  vice  by  the  dread  of  punishments,  proportioned 
indeed,  but  irremissible ;  in  all  cases,  to  follow  truth 
as  the  only  safe  guide,  and  to  eschew  error,  which  be 
wilders  us  in  one  false  consequence  after  another,  in 
endless  succession.  These  are  the  inculcations  neces 
sary  to  render  the  people  a  sure  basis  for  the  struct 
ure  of  order  and  good  government.  But  this  would 
have  been  an  operation  of  a  generation  or  two,  at 
least,  within  which  period  would  have  succeeded  many 
Neros  and  Commoduses,  who  would  have  quashed 
the  whole  process.  I  confess  then,  I  can  neither  see 

154  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

what  Cicero,  Cato,  and  Brutus,  united  and  uncontrolled, 
could  have  devised  to  lead  their  people  into  good 
government,  nor  how  this  enigma  can  be  solved,  nor 
how  further  shown  why  it  has  been  the  fate  of  that  de 
lightful  country  never  to  have  known,  to  this  day,  and 
through  a  course  of  five  and  twenty  hundred  years, 
the  history  of  which  we  possess,  one  single  day  of  free 
and  rational  government.  Your  intimacy  with  their 
history,  ancient,  middle  and  modern,  your  familiarity 
with  the  improvements  in  the  science  of  government 
at  this  time,  will  enable  you,  if  any  body,  to  go  back 
with  our  principles  and  opinions  to  the  times  of  Cicero, 
Cato,  and  Brutus,  and  tell  us  by  what  process  these 
great  and  virtuous  men  could  have  led  so  unenlight 
ened  and  vitiated  a  people  into  freedom  and  good 
government,  et  eris  mihi  magnus  Apollo.  Cura  ut 
valeas,  et  tibi persuadeas  carissimum  te  mihi  esse. 


MONTICELLO,  Jan.  22.  20. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  send  you  the  inclosed  as  an  exhibit  to  our  ene 
mies  as  well  as  friends.  Kentucky,  our  daughter,  planted  since 
Virginia  was  a  distinguished  state,  has  an  University,  with  14. 
professors  &  upwards  of  200  students.  While  we,  with  a  fund  of 
a  million  &  a  half  of  Dollars  ready  raised  and  appropriated,  are 
higgling  without  the  heart  to  let  it  go  to  it's  use.  If  our  legisla 
ture  does  not  heartily  push  our  University,  we  must  send  our 
children  for  education  to  Kentucky  or  Cambridge.  The  latter 
will  return  them  to  us  fanatics  &  tories,  the  former  will  keep  them 
to  add  to  their  population.  If  however  we  are  to  go  a  begging  any 
where  for  our  education,  I  would  rather  it  should  be  to  Ken 
tucky  than  any  other  state,  because  she  has  more  of  the  flavor  of 

1820]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  155 

the  old  cask  than  any  other.  All  the  states  but  our  own  are  sen 
sible  that  knolege  is  power.  The  Missouri  question  is  for  power. 
The  efforts  now  generally  making  all  the  states  to  advance  their 
science  is  for  power,  while  we  are  sinking  into  the  barbarism  of 
our  Indian  aborigines,  and  expect  like  them  to  oppose  by  ignor 
ance  the  overwhelming  mass  of  light  &  science  by  which  we  shall 
be  surrounded.  It  is  a  comfort  that  I  am  not  to  live  to  see  this. 
Our  exertions  in  building  this  last  year  have  amounted  to  the 
whole  of  the  public  annuity  of  this  year,  for  which  therefore  we 
have  been  obliged  to  draw  to  relieve  the  actual  distresses  of  our 
workmen  ;  the  subscriptions  come  in  slow  &  grudgingly.  You 
know  that  we  are  to  pay  Dr.  Cooper  1500  D.  in  May,  and  his 
family  will  depend  on  it  for  subsistence  in  his  absence.  We  have 
been  obliged  therefore  to  set  apart,  as  our  only  sure  dependence, 
6.  subscriptions  on  the  punctuality  of  which  we  can  depend,  to 
wit,  yours,  Mr.  Madison's,  Genl  Cocke's,  Mr.  Diges's  and  John 
Harrison's,  &  mine,  which  exactly  make  up  the  money.  Affectly 


MONTICELLO  Feb.  6.  20. 

DEAR  SIR, — Continual  ill  health  for  18.  months  past  had  nearly 
ended  the  business  of  letter-writing  with  me.  I  cannot  however 
but  make  an  effort  to  thank  you  for  your  vindicia  Americana 
against  Gr.  Britain.  The  malevolence  and  impertinence  of  her 
critics  &  writers  really  called  for  the  rod,  and  I  rejoiced  when  I 
heard  it  was  in  hands  so  able  to  wield  it  with  strength  and  cor 
rectness.  Your  work  will  furnish  the  ist  volume  of  every  future 
American  history  ;  the  Ante-revolutionary  part  especially.  The 
latter  part  will  silence  the  libellists  of  the  day,  who  finding  refuta 
tion  impossible,  and  that  men  in  glass  houses  should  not  provoke 
a  war  of  stones,  will  be  glad  of  a  truce,  to  hush  and  be  done  with 
it.  I  wish  that,  being  placed  on  the  vantage  ground  by  these 
researches  and  expositions  of  facts,  our  own  citizens  and  our 
antagonists  would  now  bury  the  hatchet  and  join  in  a  mutual 
amnesty.  No  two  nations  on  earth  can  be  so  helpful  to  each 
other  as  friends,  nor  so  hurtful  as  enemies.  And,  in  spite  of 

156  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

their  insolence  I  have  ever  wished  for  an  honorable  and  cordial 
amity  with  them  as  a  nation.  I  think  the  looking  glass  you  have 
held  up  to  them  will  now  so  compleatly  humble  their  pride  as  to 
dispose  them  also  to  wish  and  court  it. 

Here  I  must  lay  down  my  pen  with  affectionate  salutations  to 
you,  and  on  whichever  side  of  the  Styx  I  may  be,  with  cordial 
wishes  for  your  health,  prosperity  and  happiness. 


MONTICELLO  Feb.  7.  20. 

DEAR  SIR, — *  *  *  1  thank  you  for  your  information  on  the 
progress  &  prospects  of  the  Missouri  question.  It  is  the  most 
portentous  one  which  ever  yet  threatened  our  Union.  In  the 
gloomiest  moment  of  the  revolutionary  war  I  never  had  any 
apprehensions  equal  to  what  I  feel  from  this  source. 

I  observe  you  are  loaded  with  petitions  from  the  Manufactur 
ing  commercial  &  agricultural  interests,  each  praying  you  to  sac 
rifice  the  others  to  them.  This  proves  the  egotism  of  the  whole 
and  happily  balances  their  cannibal  appetites  to  eat  one  another. 
The  most  perfect  confidence  in  the  wisdom  of  Congress  leaves  me 
without  a  fear  of  the  result.  I  do  not  know  whether  it  is  any 
part  of  the  petitions  of  the  farmers  that  our  citizens  shall  be  re 
strained  to  eat  nothing  but  bread,  because  that  can  be  made  here. 
But  this  is  the  common  spirit  of  all  their  petitions.  My  ill-health 
has  obliged  me  to  retire  from  all  public  concerns.  I  scarcely  read 
a  newspaper.  I  cannot  therefore  tell  you  what  is  a  doing  in  the 
state,  but  this  you  will  get  fully  from  others.  I  will  therefore  add 
only  the  assurances  of  my  great  &  friendly  esteem  and  respect. ' 

1  Jefferson  further  wrote  to  Nelson  : 

MONTICELLO,  March  12,  1820 

I  thank  you,  dear  Sir,  for  the  information  in  your  favor  of  the  4th  instant, 
of  the  settlement,  for  the  present,  of  the  Missouri  question.  I  am  so  com 
pletely  withdrawn  from  all  attention  to  public  matters,  that  nothing  less  could 
arouse  me  than  the  definition  of  a  geographical  line,  which  on  an  abstract  prin 
ciple  is  to  become  the  line  of  separation  of  these  States,  and  to  render  desperate 
the  hope  that  man  can  ever  enjoy  the  two  blessings  of  peace  and  self-govern 
ment.  The  question  sleeps  for  the  present,  but  is  not  dead.  This  State  is  in 

1820]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  157 


MONTICELLO,  April  22,  l82O. 

I  thank  you,  dear  Sir,  for  the  copy  you  have  been  so  kind  as 
to  send  me  of  the  letter  to  your  constituents  on  the  Missouri 
question.  It  is  a  perfect  justification  to  them.  I  had  for  a  long 
time  ceased  to  read  newspapers,  or  pay  any  attention  to  public 
affairs,  confident  they  were  in  good  hands,  and  content  to  be  a 
passenger  in  our  bark  to  the  shore  from  which  I  am  not  distant. 
But  this  momentous  question,  like  a  fire  bell  in  the  night, 
awakened  and  filled  me  with  terror.  I  considered  it  at  once  as 
the  knell  of  the  Union.  It  is  hushed,  indeed,  for  the  moment. 
But  this  is  a  reprieve  only,  not  a  final  sentence.  A  geographical 
line,  coinciding  with  a  marked  principle,  moral  and  political, 
once  conceived  and  held  up  to  the  angry  passions  of  men,  will 
never  be  obliterated  ;  and  every  new  irritation  will  mark  it  deeper 
and  deeper.  I  can  say,  with  conscious  truth,  that  there  is  not  a 
man  on  earth  who  would  sacrifice  more  than  I  would  to  relieve 
us  from  this  heavy  reproach,  in  any  practicable  way.  The  cession 
of  that  kind  of  property,  for  so  it  is  misnamed,  is  a  bagatelle 
which  would  not  cost  me  a  second  thought,  if,  in  that  way,  a  gen 
eral  emancipation  and  expatriation  could  be  effected  ;  and  gradu 
ally,  and  with  due  sacrifices,  I  think  it  might  be.  But  as  it  is,  we 
have  the  wolf  by  the  ears,  and  we  can  neither  hold  him,  nor 
safely  let  him  go.  Justice  is  in  one  scale,  and  self-preservation 

a  condition  of  unparalleled  distress.  The  sudden  reduction  of  the  circulating 
medium  from  a  plethory  to  all  but  annihilation  is  producing  an  entire  revolution 
of  fortune.  In  other  places  I  have  known  lands  sold  by  the  sheriff  for  one 
year's  rent ;  beyond  the  mountain  we  hear  of  good  slaves  selling  for  one  hun 
dred  dollars,  good  horses  for  five  dollars,  and  the  sheriffs  generally  the  pur 
chasers.  Our  produce  is  now  selling  at  market  for  one-third  of  its  price,  before 
this  commercial  catastrophe,  say  flour  at  three  and  a  quarter  and  three  and  a 
half  dollars  the  barrel.  We  should  have  less  right  to  expect  relief  from  our 
legislators  if  they  had  been  the  establishers  of  the  unwise  system  of  banks.  A 
remedy  to  a  certain  degree  was  practicable,  that  of  reducing  the  quantum  of 
circulation  gradually  to  a  level  with  that  of  the  countries  with  which  we  have 
commerce,  and  an  eternal  abjuration  of  paper.  But  they  have  adjourned  with 
out  doing  anything.  I  fear  local  insurrections  against  these  horrible  sacrifices 
of  property.  In  every  condition  of  trouble  or  tranquillity  be  assured  of  my  con 
stant  esteem  and  respect. 

158  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

in  the  other.  Of  one  thing  I  am  certain,  that  as  the  passage  of 
slaves  from  one  State  to  another,  would  not  make  a  slave  of  a 
single  human  being  who  would  not  be  so  without  it,  so  their  dif 
fusion  over  a  greater  surface  would  make  them  individually  hap 
pier,  and  proportionally  facilitate  the  accomplishment  of  their 
emancipation,  by  dividing  the  burthen  on  a  greater  number  of 
coadjutors.  An  abstinence  too,  from  this  act  of  power,  would 
remove  the  jealousy  excited  by  the  undertaking  of  Congress  to 
regulate  the  condition  of  the  different  descriptions  of  men  com 
posing  a  State.  This  certainly  is  the  exclusive  right  of  every 
State,  which  nothing  in  the  constitution  has  taken  from  them  and 
given  to  the  General  Government.  Could  Congress,  for  example, 
say,  that  the  non-freemen  of  Connecticut  shall  be  freemen,  or 
that  they  shall  not  emigrate  into  any  other  State  ? 

I  regret  that  I  am  now  to  die  in  the  belief,  that  the  useless 
sacrifice  of  themselves  by  the  generation  of  1776,  to  acquire  self- 
government  and  happiness  to  their  country,  is  to  be  thrown  away 
by  the  unwise  and  unworthy  passions  of  their  sons,  and  that  my 
only  consolation  is  to  be,  that  I  live  not  to  weep  over  it.  If  they 
would  but  dispassionately  weigh  the  blessings  they  will  throw 
away,  against  an  abstract  principle  more  likely  to  be  effected  by 
union  than  by  scission,  they  would  pause  before  they  would  per 
petrate  this  act  of  suicide  on  themselves,  and  of  treason  against 
the  hopes  of  the  world.  To  yourself,  as  the  faithful  advocate  of 
the  Union,  I  tender  the  offering  of  my  high  esteem  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  May  14,  1820. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  3d  is  received,  and 
always  with  welcome.  These  texts  of  truth  relieve 
me  from  the  floating  falsehoods  of  the  public  papers. 
I  confess  to  you  I  am  not  sorry  for  the  non-ratifica 
tion  of  the  Spanish  treaty.  Our  assent  to  it  has 
proved  our  desire  to  be  on  friendly  terms  with  Spain  ; 
their  dissent,  the  imbecility  and  malignity  of  their 


government  towards  us,  have  placed  them  in  the 
wrong  in  the  eyes  of  the  world,  and  that  is  well ;  but 
to  us  the  province  of  Techas  will  be  the  richest  State 
of  our  Union,  without  any  exception.  Its  southern 
part  will  make  more  sugar  than  we  can  consume,  and 
the  Red  river,  on  its  north,  is  the  most  luxuriant 
country  on  earth.  Florida,  moreover,  is  ours.  Every 
nation  in  Europe  considers  it  such  a  right.  We  need 
not  care  for  its  occupation  in  time  of  peace,  and,  in 
war,  the  first  cannon  makes  it  ours  without  offence  to 
anybody.  The  friendly  advisements,  too,  of  Russia 
and  France,  as  well  as  the  change  of  government  in 
Spain,  now  ensured,  require  a  further  and  respectful 
forbearance.  While  their  request  will  rebut  the  plea 
of  prescriptive  possession,  it  will  give  us  a  right  to 
their  approbation  when  taken  in  the  maturity  of  cir 
cumstances.  I  really  think,  too,  that  neither  the  state 
of  our  finances,  the  condition  of  our  country,  nor  the 
public  opinion,  urges  us  to  precipitation  into  war. 
The  treaty  has  had  the  valuable  effect  of  strengthen 
ing  our  title  to  the  Techas,  because  the  cession  of  the 
Floridas  in  exchange  for  Techas  imports  an  acknow 
ledgement  of  our  right  to  it.  This  province  more 
over,  the  Floridas  and  possibly  Cuba,  will  join  us  on 
the  acknowledgment  of  their  independence,  a  meas 
ure  to  which  their  new  government  will  probably  ac 
cede  voluntarily.  But  why  should  I  be  saying  all 
this  to  you,  whose  mind  all  the  circumstances  of  this 
affair  have  had  possession  for  years  ?  I  shall  rejoice 
to  see  you  here  ;  and  were  I  to  live  to  see  you  here 
finally,  it  would  be  a  day  of  jubilee.  But  our  days 

160  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

are  all  numbered,  and  mine  are  not  many.     God  bless 
you  and  preserve  you  muchos  anos. 


MONTICELLO,  September  28,  1820. 

I  thank  you,  Sir,  for  the  copy  of  your  Republican  which  you 
have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me,  and  I  should  have  acknow 
ledged  it  sooner  but  that  I  am  just  returned  home  after  a  long 
absence.  I  have  not  yet  had  time  to  read  it  seriously,  but  in 
looking  over  it  cursorily  I  see  much  in  it  to  approve,  and  shall  be 
glad  if  it  shall  lead  our  youth  to  the  practice  of  thinking  on  such 
subjects  and  for  themselves.  That  it  will  have  this  tendency 
may  be  expected,  and  for  that  reason  I  feel  an  urgency  to  note 
what  I  deem  an  error  in  it,  the  more  requiring  notice  as  your 
opinion  is  strengthened  by  that  of  many  others.  You  seem,  in 
pages  84  and  148,  to  consider  the  judges  as  the  ultimate  arbiters 
of  all  constitutional  questions  ;  a  very  dangerous  doctrine  indeed, 
and  one  which  would  place  us  under  the  despotism  of  an  oligar 
chy.  Our  judges  are  as  honest  as  other  men,  and  not  more  so. 
They  have,  with  others,  the  same  passions  for  party,  for  power, 
and  the  privilege  of  their  corps.  Their  maxim  is  "  boni  judicis 
est  ampliare  jurisdictionem"  and  their  power  the  more  danger 
ous  as  they  are  in  office  for  life,  and  not  responsible,  as  the  other 
functionaries  are,  to  the  elective  control.  The  constitution  has 
erected  no  such  single  tribunal,  knowing  that  to  whatever  hands 
confided,  with  the  corruptions  of  time  and  party,  its  members 
would  become  despots.  It  has  more  wisely  made  all  the  depart 
ments  co-equal  and  co-sovereign  within  themselves.  If  the  leg 
islature  fails  to  pass  laws  for  a  census,  for  paying  the  judges  and 
other  officers  of  government,  for  establishing  a  militia,  for  nat 
uralization  as  prescribed  by  the  constitution,  or  if  they  fail  to 
meet  in  congress,  the  judges  cannot  issue  their  mandamus  to 
them  ;  if  the  President  fails  to  supply  the  place  of  a  judge, 
to  appoint  other  civil  or  military  officers,  to  issue  requisite  com 
missions,  the  judges  cannot  force  him.  They  can  issue  their 
mandamus  or  distringas  to  no  executive  or  legislative  officer  to 

1820]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  161 

enforce  the  fulfilment  of  their  official  duties,  any  more  than  the 
president  or  legislature  may  issue  orders  to  the  judges  or  their 
officers.  Betrayed  by  English  example,  and  unaware,  as  it  should 
seem,  of  the  control  of  our  constitution  in  this  particular,  they  have 
at  times  overstepped  their  limit  by  undertaking  to  command 
executive  officers  in  the  discharge  of  their  executive  duties  ;  but 
the  constitution,  in  keeping  three  departments  distinct  and  inde 
pendent,  restrains  the  authority  of  the  judges  to  judiciary  organs, 
as  it  does  the  executive  and  legislative  to  executive  and  legisla 
tive  organs.  The  judges  certainly  have  more  frequent  occasion 
to  act  on  constitutional  questions,  because  the  laws  of  meum  and 
tuum  and  of  criminal  action,  forming  the  great  mass  of  the  sys 
tem  of  law,  constitute  their  particular  department.  When  the 
legislative  or  executive  functionaries  act  unconstitutionally,  they 
are  responsible  to  the  people  in  their  elective  capacity.  The  ex 
emption  of  the  judges  from  that  is  quite  dangerous  enough.  I 
know  no  safe  depository  of  the  ultimate  powers  of  the  society 
but  the  people  themselves  ;  and  if  we  think  them  not  enlightened 
enough  to  exercise  their  control  with  a  wholesome  discretion, 
the  remedy  is  not  to  take  it  from  them,  but  to  inform  their  dis 
cretion  by  education.  This  is  the  true  corrective  of  abuses  of 
constitutional  power.  Pardon  me,  Sir,  for  this  difference  of 
opinion.  My  personal  interest  in  such  questions  is  entirely  ex 
tinct,  but  not  my  wishes  for  the  longest  possible  continuance  of 
our  government  on  its  pure  principles  ;  if  the  three  powers  main 
tain  their  mutual  independence  on  each  other  it  may  last  long, 
but  not  so  if  either  can  assume  the  authorities  of  the  other.  I  ask 
your  candid  re-consideration  of  this  subject,  and  am  sufficiently 
sure  you  will  form  a  candid  conclusion.  Accept  the  assurance 
of  my  great  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  September  30,  1820. 

DEAR  SIR, — An  absence  of  some  time  from  home  has  occasioned 
me  to  be  thus  late  in  acknowledging  the  receipt  of  your  favor 
of  the  6th,  and  I  see  in  it  with  pleasure  evidences  of  your  con 
tinued  health  and  application  to  business.  It  is  now,  I  believe, 

VOL.   X. — II 

162  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

about  twenty  years  since  I  had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  you,  and 
we  are  apt,  in  such  cases,  to  lose  sight  of  time,  and  to  conceive 
that  our  friends  remain  stationary  at  the  same  point  of  health  and 
vigor  as  when  we  last  saw  them.  So  I  perceive  by  your  letter 
you  think  with  respect  to  myself,  but  twenty  years  added  to 
fifty-seven  make  quite  a  different  man.  To  threescore  and  seven 
teen  add  two  years  of  prostrate  health,  and  you  have  the  old, 
infirm,  and  nerveless  body  I  now  am,  unable  to  write  but  with 
pain,  and  unwilling  to  think  without  necessity.  In  this  state  I 
leave  the  world  and  its  affairs  to  the  young  and  energetic,  and 
resign  myself  to  their  care,  of  whom  I  have  endeavored  to  take 
care  when  young.  I  read  but  one  newspaper  and  that  of  my 
own  State,  and  more  for  its  advertisements  than  its  news.  I 
have  not  read  a  speech  in  Congress  for  some  years.  I  have 
heard,  indeed,  of  the  questions  of  the  tariff  and  Missouri,  and 
formed  primd  facie  opinions  on  them,  but  without  investigation. 
As  to  the  tariff,  I  should  say  put  down  all  banks,  admit  none  but 
a  metallic  circulation,  that  will  take  its  proper  level  with  the  like 
circulation  in  other  countries,  and  then  our  manufacturers  may 
work  in  fair  competition  with  those  of  other  countries,  and  the 
import  duties  which  the  government  may  lay  for  the  purposes  of 
revenue  will  so  far  place  them  above  equal  competition.  The 
Missouri  question  is  a  mere  party  trick.  The  leaders  of  federal 
ism,  defeated  in  their  schemes  of  obtaining  power  by  rallying 
partisans  to  the  principle  of  monarchism,  a  principle  of  personal 
not  of  local  division,  have  changed  their  tack,  and  thrown  out 
another  barrel  to  the  whale.  They  are  taking  advantage  of  the 
virtuous  feelings  of  the  people  to  effect  a  division  of  parties  by  a 
geographical  line  ;  they  expect  that  this  will  ensure  them,  on 
local  principles,  the  majority  they  could  never  obtain  on  princi 
ples  of  federalism  ;  but  they  are  still  putting  their  shoulder  to  the 
wrong  wheel ;  they  are  wasting  Jeremiads  on  the  miseries  of 
slavery,  as  if  we  were  advocates  for  it.  Sincerity  in  their  declama 
tions  should  direct  their  efforts  to  the  true  point  of  difficulty,  and 
unite  their  counsels  with  ours  in  devising  some  reasonable  and 
practicable  plan  of  getting  rid  of  it.  Some  of  these  leaders,  if 
they  could  attain  the  power,  their  ambition  would  rather  use  it 
to  keep  the  Union  together,  but  others  have  ever  had  in  view  its 

1820]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  163 

separation.  If  they  push  it  to  that,  they  will  find  the  line  of  sepa 
ration  very  different  from  their  36°  of  latitude,  and  as  manufac 
turing  and  navigating  States,  they  will  have  quarrelled  with 
their  bread  and  butter,  and  I  fear  not  that  after  a  little  trial  they 
will  think  better  of  it,  and  return  to  the  embraces  of  their  nat 
ural  and  best  friends.  But  this  scheme  of  party  I  leave  to  those 
who  are  to  live  under  its  consequences.  We  who  have  gone  be 
fore  have  performed  an  honest  duty,  by  putting  in  the  power  of 
our  successors  a  state  of  happiness  which  no  nation  ever  before 
had  within  their  choice.  If  that  choice  is  to  throw  it  away,  the 
dead  will  have  neither  the  power  nor  the  right  to  control  them. 
I  must  hope,  nevertheless,  that  the  mass  of  our  honest  and  well- 
meaning  brethren  of  the  other  States,  will  discover  the  use  which 
designing  leaders  are  making  of  their  best  feelings,  and  will  see 
the  precipice  to  which  they  are  led,  before  they  take  the  fatal 
leap.  God  grant  it,  and  to  you  health  and  happiness. 


MONTICELLO,  October  24,  1820. 

Your  kind  letter,  dear  Sir  of  October  izth,  was  handed  to  me 
by  Dr.  Cooper,  and  was  the  first  correction  of  an  erroneous  belief 
that  you  had  long  since  left  our  shores.  Such  had  been  Colonel 
Randolph's  opinion,  and  his  had  governed  mine.  I  received  your 
adieu  with  feelings  of  sincere  regret  at  the  loss  we  were  to  sustain, 
and  particularly  of  those  friendly  visits  by  which  you  had  made 
me  so  happy.  I  shall  feel,  too,  the  want  of  your  counsel  and  ap 
probation  in  what  we  are  doing  and  have  yet  to  do  in  our  Univer 
sity,  the  last  of  my  mortal  cares,  and  the  last  service  I  can  render 
my  country.  But  turning  from  myself,  throwing  egotism  behind 
me,  and  looking  to  your  happiness,  it  is  a  duty  and  consolation  of 
friendship  to  consider  that  that  may  be  promoted  by  your  return 
to  your  own  country.  There  I  hope  you  will  receive  the  honors 
and  rewards  you  merit,  and  which  may  make  the  rest  of  your  life 
easy  and  happy ;  there  too  you  will  render  precious  services  by 
promoting  the  science  of  your  country,  and  blessing  its  future 
generations  with  the  advantages  that  bestows.  Nor  even  there 

1 64  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

shall  we  lose  all  the  benefits  of  your  friendship  ;  for  this  motive, 
as  well  as  the  love  of  your  country,  will  be  an  incitement  to  pro 
mote  that  intimate  harmony  between  our  two  nations  which  is  so 
much  the  interest  of  both.  Nothing  is  so  important  as  that  Amer 
ica  shall  separate  herself  from  the  systems  of  Europe,  and  estab 
lish  one  of  her  own.  Our  circumstances,  our  pursuits,  our 
interests,  are  distinct,  the  principles  of  our  policy  should  be  so 
also.  All  entanglements  with  that  quarter  of  the  globe  should  be 
avoided  if  we  mean  that  peace  and  justice  shall  be  the  polar  stars 
of  the  American  societies.  I  had  written  a  letter  to  a  friend  while 
you  were  here,  in  a  part  of  which  these  sentiments  were  expressed, 
and  I  had  made  an  extract  from  it  to  put  into  your  hands,  as  con 
taining  my  creed  on  that  subject.  You  had  left  us,  however,  in 
the  morning  earlier  than  I  had  been  aware  ;  still  I  enclose  it  to 
you,  because  it  would  be  a  leading  principle  with  me,  had  I  longer 
to  live.  During  six  and  thirty  years  that  I  have  been  in  situa 
tions  to  attend  to  the  conduct  and  characters  of  foreign  nations,  I 
have  found  the  government  of  Portugal  the  most  just,  inoffensive 
and  unambitious  of  any  one  with  which  we  had  concern,  without 
a  single  exception.  I  am  sure  that  this  is  the  character  of  ours 
also.  Two  such  nations  can  never  wish  to  quarrel  with  each 
other.  Subordinate  officers  may  be  negligent,  may  have  their 
passions  and  partialities,  and  be  criminally  remiss  in  preventing 
the  enterprises  of  the  lawless  banditti  who  are  to  be  found  in 
every  seaport  of  every  country.  The  late  piratical  depredations 
which  your  commerce  has  suffered  as  well  as  ours,  and  that  of 
other  nations,  seem  to  have  been  committed  by  renegade  rovers 
of  several  nations,  French,  English,  American,  which  they  as  well 
as  we  have  not  been  careful  enough  to  suppress.  I  hope  our 
Congress  now  about  to  meet  will  strengthen  the  measures  of  sup 
pression.  Of  their  disposition  to  do  it  there  can  be  no  doubt ;  for 
all  men  of  moral  principle  must  be  shocked  at  these  atrocities.  I 
had  repeated  conversations  on  this  subject  with  the  President 
while  at  his  seat  in  this  neighborhood.  No  man  can  abhor  these 
enormities  more  deeply.  I  trust  it  will  not  have  been  in  the 
power  of  abandoned  rovers,  nor  yet  of  negligent  functionaries,  to 
disturb  the  harmony  of  two  nations  so  much  disposed  to  mutual 
friendship,  and  interested  in  it.  To  this,  my  dear  friend,  you  can 

1820]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  165 

be  mainly  instrumental,  and  I  know  your  patriotism  and  philan 
thropy  too  well  to  doubt  your  best  efforts  to  cement  us.  In  these 
I  pray  for  your  success,  and  that  heaven  may  long  preserve  you  in 
health  and  prosperity  to  do  all  the  good  to  mankind  to  which 
your  enlightened  and  benevolent  mind  disposes  you.  Of  the 
continuance  of  my  affectionate  friendship,  with  that  of  my  life, 
and  of  its  fervent  wishes  for  your  happiness,  accept  my  sincere 


POPLAR  FOREST,  November  28,  1820. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  sent  in  due  time  the  Report  of  the  Visitors  to  the 
Governor,  with  a  request  that  he  would  endeavor  to  convene  the 
Literary  Board  in  time  to  lay  it  before  the  legislature  on  the  sec 
ond  day  of  their  session.  It  was  enclosed  in  a  letter  which  will 
explain  itself  to  you.  If  delivered  before  the  crowd  of  other  busi 
ness  presses  on  them,  they  may  act  on  it  immediately,  and  before 
there  will  have  been  time  for  unfriendly  combinations  and  ma- 
neuvres  by  the  enemies  of  the  institution.  I  enclose  you  now  a 
paper  presenting  some  views  which  may  be  useful  to  you  in  con 
versations,  to  rebut  exaggerated  estimates  of  what  our  institution 
is  to  cost,  and  reproaches  of  deceptive  estimates.  One  hundred 
and  sixty-two  thousand  three  hundred  and  sixty- four  dollars  will 
be  about  the  cost  of  the  whole  establishment,  when  completed. 
Not  an  office  at  Washington  has  cost  less.  The  single  building 
of  the  court  house  at  Henrico  has  cost  nearly  that  ;  and  the  mas 
sive  walls  of  the  millions  of  bricks  of  William  and  Mary  could  not 
now  be  built  for  a  less  sum. 

Surely  Governor  Clinton's  display  of  the  gigantic  efforts  of 
New  York  towards  the  education  of  her  citizens,  will  stimulate 
the  pride  as  well  as  the  patriotism  of  our  legislature,  to  look  to  the 
reputation  and  safety  of  their  own  country,  to  rescue  it  from  the 
degradation  of  becoming  the  Barbary  of  the  Union,  and  of  fall 
ing  into  the  ranks  of  our  own  negroes.  To  that  condition  it 
is  fast  sinking.  We  shall  be  in  the  hands  of  the  other  States, 
what  our  indigenous  predecessors  were  when  invaded  by  the  sci 
ence  and  arts  of  Europe.  The  mass  of  education  in  Virginia,  be- 

1 66  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

fore  the  Revolution,  placed  her  with  the  foremost  of  her  sister 
colonies.  What  is  her  education  now  ?  Where  is  it  ?  The  little 
we  have  we  import,  like  beggars,  from  other  States  ;  or  import 
their  beggars  to  bestow  on  us  their  miserable  crumbs.  And  what 
is  wanting  to  restore  us  to  our  station  among  our  confederates  ? 
Not  more  money  from  the  people.  Enough  has  been  raised  by 
them,  and  appropriated  to  this  very  object.  It  is  that  it  should 
be  employed  understandingly,  and  for  their  greatest  good.  That 
good  requires,  that  while  they  are  instructed  in  general,  compe 
tently  to  the  common  business  of  life,  others  should  employ  their 
genius  with  necessary  information  to  the  useful  arts,  to  inven 
tions  for  saving  labor  and  increasing  our  comforts,  to  nourishing 
our  health,  to  civil  government,  military  science,  &c. 

Would  it  not  have  a  good  effect  for  the  friends  of  this  Uni 
versity  to  take  the  lead  in  proposing  and  effecting  a  practical 
scheme  of  elementary  schools  ?  To  assume  the  character  of  the 
friends,  rather  than  the  opponents  of  that  object.  The  present 
plan  has  appropriated  to  the  primary  schools  forty-five  thousand 
dollars  for  three  years,  making  one  hundred  and  thirty-five  thou 
sand  dollars.  I  should  be  glad  to  know  if  this  sum  has  educated 
one  hundred  and  thirty-five  poor  children  ?  I  doubt  it  much. 
And  if  it  has,  they  have  cost  us  one  thousand  dollars  a  piece  for 
what  might  have  been  done  with  thirty  dollars.  Supposing  the 
literary  revenue  to  be  sixty  thousand  dollars,  I  think  it  demon 
strable,  that  this  sum,  equally  divided  between  the  two  objects 
would  amply  suffice  for  both.  One  hundred  counties,  divided 
into  about  twelve  wards  each,  on  an  average,  and  a  school  in 
each  ward  of  perhaps  ten  children,  would  be  one  thousand  and 
two  hundred  schools,  distributed  proportionably  over  the  surface 
of  the  State.  The  inhabitants  of  each  ward,  meeting  together 
(as  when  they  work  on  the  roads),  building  good  log  houses  for 
their  school  and  teacher,  and  contributing  for  his  provisions, 
rations  of  pork,  beef,  and  corn,  in  the  proportion  each  of  his 
other  taxes,  would  thus  lodge  and  feed  him  without  feeling  it ;  and 
those  of  them  who  are  able,  paying  for  the  tuition  of  their  own 
children,  would  leave  no  call  on  the  public  fund  but  for  the 
tuition  fee  of,  here  and  there,  an  accidental  pauper,  who  would 
still  be  fed  and  lodged  with  his  parents.  Suppose  this  fee  ten 

1820]  THOMAS  JEFFEKSON.  167 

dollars,  and  three  hundred  dollars  apportioned  to  a  county  on  an 
average,  (more  or  less  proportioned,)  would  there  be  thirty  such 
paupers  for  every  county  ?  I  think  not.  The  truth  is,  that  the 
want  of  common  education  with  us  is  not  from  our  poverty,  but 
from  want  of  an  orderly  system.  More  money  is  now  paid  for 
the  education  of  a  part,  than  would  be  paid  for  that  of  the  whole, 
if  systematically  arranged.  Six  thousand  common  schools  in 
New  York,  fifty  pupils  in  each,  three  hundred  thousand  in  all  ; 
one  hundred  and  sixty  thousand  dollars  annually  paid  to  the 
masters ;  forty  established  academies,  with  two  thousand  two 
hundred  and  eighteen  pupils  ;  and  five  colleges,  with  seven  hun 
dred  and  eighteen  students  ;  to  which  last  classes  of  institutions 
seven  hundred  and  twenty  thousand  dollars  have  been  given  ; 
and  the  whole  appropriations  for  education  estimated  at  two  and 
a  half  millions  of  dollars  !  What  a  pigmy  to  this  is  Virginia 
become,  with  a  population  almost  equal  to  that  of  New  York  ! 
And  whence  this  difference  ?  From  the  difference  their  rulers 
set  on  the  value  of  knowledge,  and  the  prosperity  it  produces. 
But  still,  if  a  pigmy,  let  her  do  what  a  pigmy  may  do.  If  among 
fifty  children  in  each  of  the  six  thousand  schools  of  New  York, 
there  are  only  paupers  enough  to  employ  twenty-five  dollars  of 
public  money  to  each  school,  surely  among  the  ten  children  of 
each  of  our  one  thousand  and  two  hundred  schools,  the  same 
sum  of  twenty-five  dollars  to  each  school  will  teach  its  paupers, 
(five  times  as  much  as  to  the  same  number  in  New  York,)  and 
will  amount  for  the  whole  to  thirty  thousand  dollars  a  year,  the 
one-half  only  of  our  literary  revenue. 

Do  then,  dear  Sir,  think  of  this,  and  engage  our  friends  to  take 
in  hand  the  whole  subject.  It  will  reconcile  the  friends  of  the 
elementary  schools,  and  none  are  more  warmly  so  than  myself, 
lighten  the  difficulties  of  the  University,  and  promote  in  every 
order  of  men  the  degree  of  instruction  proportioned  to  their  con 
dition,  and  to  their  views  in  life.  It  will  combine  with  the  mass 
of  our  force,  a  wise  direction  of  it,  which  will  insure  to  our 
country  its  future  prosperity  and  safety.  I  had  formerly  thought 
that  visitors  of  the  school  might  be  chosen  by  the  county,  and 
charged  to  provide  teachers  for  every  ward,  and  to  superintend 
them.  I  now  think  it  would  be  better  for  every  ward  to  choose 

1 68  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

its  own  resident  visitor,  whose  business  it  would  be  to  keep  a 
teacher  in  the  ward,  to  superintend  the  school,  and  to  call  meet 
ings  of  the  ward  for  all  purposes  relating  to  it ;  their  accounts  to 
be  settled,  and  wards  laid  off  by  the  courts.  I  think  ward  elec 
tions  better  for  many  reasons,  one  of  which  is  sufficient,  that  it 
will  keep  elementary  education  out  of  the  hands  of  fanaticising 
preachers,  who,  in  county  elections,  would  be  universally  chosen, 
and  the  predominant  sect  of  the  county  would  possess  itself  of 
all  its  schools. 

A  wrist  stiffened  by  an  ancient  accident,  now  more  so  by  the 
effect  of  age,  renders  writing  a  slow  and  irksome  operation  with 
me.  I  cannot,  therefore,  present  these  views,  by  separate  letters 
to  each  of  our  colleagues  in  the  legislature,  but  must  pray  you  to 
communicate  them  to  Mr.  Johnson  and  General  Breckenridge, 
and  to  request  them  to  consider  this  as  equally  meant  for  them. 
Mr.  Gordon  being  the  local  representative  of  the  University,  and 
among  its  most  zealous  friends,  would  be  a  more  useful  second  to 
General  Breckenridge  in  the  House  of  Delegates,  by  a  free  com 
munication  of  what  concerns  the  University,  with  which  he  has 
had  little  opportunity  of  becoming  acquainted.  So,  also,  would 
it  be  to  Mr.  Rives,  who  would  be  a  friendly  advocate. 

Accept  the  assurances  of  my  constant  and  affectionate  esteem 
and  respect. 


POPLAR  FOREST,  November  29,  1820. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  enclosed  letter  from  our  ancient  friend 
Tenche  Coxe,  came  unfortunately  to  Monticello  after  I  had  left 
it,  and  has  had  a  dilatory  passage  to  this  place,  where  I  received 
it  yesterday,  and  obey  its  injunction  of  immediate  transmission 
to  you.  We  should  have  recognized  the  style  even  without  a 
signature,  and  although  so  written  as  to  be  much  of  it  indecipher 
able.  This  is  a  sample  of  the  effects  we  may  expect  from  the 
late  mischievous  law  vacating  every  four  years  nearly  all  the 
executive  offices  of  the  government.  It  saps  the  constitutional 
and  salutary  functions  of  the  President,  and  introduces  a  princi 
ple  of  intrigue  and  corruption,  which  will  soon  leaven  the  mass, 

1820]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  169 

not  only  of  Senators,  but  of  citizens.  It  is  more  baneful  than  the 
attempt  which  failed  in  the  beginning  of  the  government,  to  make 
all  officers  irremovable  but  with  the  consent  of  the  Senate.  This 
places,  every  four  years,  all  appointments  under  their  power,  and 
even  obliges  them  to  act  on  every  one  nomination.  It  will  keep 
in  constant  excitement  all  the  hungry  cormorants  for  office,  ren 
der  them,  as  well  as  those  in  place,  sycophants  to  their  Senators, 
engage  these  in  eternal  intrigue  to  turn  out  one  and  put  in  an 
other,  in  cabals  to  swap  work  ;  and  make  of  them  what  all  execu 
tive  directories  become,  mere  sinks  of  corruption  and  faction. 
This  must  have  been  one  of  the  midnight  signatures  of  the  Presi 
dent,  when  he  had  not  time  to  consider,  or  even  to  read  the  law  ; 
and  the  more  fatal  as  being  irrepealable  but  with  the  consent  of 
the  Senate,  which  will  never  be  obtained. 

F.  Gilmer  has  communicated  to  me  Mr.  Correa's  letter  to  him 
of  adieux  to  his  friends  here,  among  whom  he  names  most  affec 
tionately  Mrs.  Madison  and  yourself.  No  foreigner,  I  believe, 
has  ever  carried  with  him  more  friendly  regrets.  He  was  to  sail 
the  next  day  (November  10)  in  the  British  packet  for  England, 
and  thence  take  his  passage  in  January  for  Brazil.  His  present 
views  are  of  course  liable  to  be  affected  by  the  events  of  Portugal, 
and  the  possible  effects  of  their  example  on  Brazil.  I  expect  to 
return  to  Monticello  about  the  middle  of  the  ensuing  month,  and 
salute  you  with  constant  affection  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  December  25,  1820. 

DEAR  SIR, — On  my  return  home  after  a  long  absence,  I  find 
here  your  favor  of  November  the  23d,  with  Colonel  Taylor's 
"  Construction  Construed,"  which  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to 
send  me,  in  the  name  of  the  author  as  well  as  yourself.  Permit 
me,  if  you  please,  to  use  the  same  channel  for  conveying  to  him 
the  thanks  I  render  you  also  for  this  mark  of  attention.  I  shall 
read  it,  I  know,  with  edification,  as  I  did  his  Inquiry,  to  which  I 
acknowledge  myself  indebted  for  many  valuable  ideas,  and  for 
the  correction  of  some  errors  of  early  opinion,  never  seen  in  a 

170  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

correct  light  until  presented  to  me  in  that  work.  That  the  present 
volume  is  equally  orthodox,  I  know  before  reading  it,  because  I 
know  that  Colonel  Taylor  and  myself  have  rarely,  if  ever,  differed 
in  any  political  principle  of  importance.  Every  act  of  his  life, 
and  every  word  he  ever  wrote,  satisfies  me  of  this.  So,  also,  as 
to  the  two  Presidents,  late  and  now  in  office,  I  know  them  both 
to  be  of  principles  as  truly  republican  as  any  men  living.  If 
there  be  anything  amiss,  therefore,  in  the  present  state  of  our 
affairs,  as  the  formidable  deficit  lately  unfolded  to  us  indicates,  I 
ascribe  it  to  the  inattention  of  Congress  to  their  duties,  to  their 
unwise  dissipation  and  waste  of  the  public  contributions.  They 
seemed,  some  little  while  ago,  to  be  at  a  loss  for  objects  whereon 
to  throw  away  the  supposed  fathomless  funds  of  the  treasury.  I 
had  feared  the  result,  because  I  saw  among  them  some  of  my  old 
fellow  laborers,  of  tried  and  known  principles,  yet  often  in  their 
minorities.  I  am  aware  that  in  one  of  their  most  ruinous  vagaries, 
the  people  were  themselves  betrayed  into  the  same  phrenzy  with 
their  Representatives.  The  deficit  produced,  and  a  heavy  tax  to 
supply  it,  will,  I  trust,  bring  both  to  their  sober  senses. 

But  it  is  not  from  this  branch  of  government  we  have  most  to 
fear.  Taxes  and  short  elections  will  keep  them  right.  The  judi 
ciary  of  the  United  States  is  the  subtle  corps  of  sappers  and 
miners  constantly  working  under  ground  to  undermine  the  foun 
dations  of  our  confederated  fabric.  They  are  construing  our 
constitution  from  a  co-ordination  of  a  general  and  special  gov 
ernment  to  a  general  and  supreme  one  alone.  This  will  lay  all 
things  at  their  feet,  and  they  are  too  well  versed  in  English  law 
to  forget  the  maxim,  "  boni  judicis  est  ampliare  jurisdictioncm." 
We  shall  see  if  they  are  bold  enough  to  take  the  daring  stride 
their  five  lawyers  have  lately  taken.  If  they  do,  then,  with  the 
editor  of  our  book,  in  his  address  to  the  public,  I  will  say,  that 
"against  this  every  man  should  raise  his  voice,"  and  more,  should 
uplift  his  arm.  Who  wrote  this  admirable  address  ?  Sound, 
luminous,  strong,  not  a  word  too  much,  nor  one  which  can  be 
changed  but  for  the  worse.  That  pen  should  go  on,  lay  bare 
these  wounds  of  our  constitution,  expose  the  decisions  seriatim, 
and  arouse,  as  it  is  able,  the  attention  of  the  nation  to  these  bold 
speculators  on  its  patience.  Having  found,  from  experience,  that 

1820]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  171 

impeachment  is  an  impracticable  thing,  a  mere  scare-crow,  they 
consider  themselves  secure  for  life  ;  they  sculk  from  responsibility 
to  public  opinion,  the  only  remaining  hold  on  them,  under  a  prac 
tice  first  introduced  into  England  by  Lord  Mansfield.  An  opin 
ion  is  huddled  up  in  conclave,  perhaps  by  a  majority  of  one, 
delivered  as  if  unanimous,  and  with  the  silent  acquiescence  of 
lazy  or  timid  associates,  by  a  crafty  chief  judge,  who  sophisticates 
the  law  to  his  mind,  by  the  turn  of  his  own  reasoning.  A  judici 
ary  law  was  once  reported  by  the  Attorney  General  to  Congress, 
requiring  each  judge  to  deliver  his  opinion  seriatim  and  openly, 
and  then  to  give  it  in  writing  to  the  clerk  to  be  entered  in  the 
record.  A  judiciary  independent  of  a  king  or  executive  alone,  is 
a  good  thing ;  but  independence  of  the  will  of  the  nation  is  a 
solecism,  at  least  in  a  republican  government. 

But  to  return  to  your  letter ;  you  ask  for  my  opinion  of  the 
work  you  send  me,  and  to  let  it  go  out  to  the  public.  This  I 
have  ever  made  a  point  of  declining,  (one  or  two  instances  only 
excepted.)  Complimentary  thanks  to  writers  who  have  sent  me 
their  works,  have  betrayed  me  sometimes  before  the  public,  with 
out  my  consent  having  been  asked.  But  I  am  far  from  presum 
ing  to  direct  the  reading  of  my  fellow  citizens,  who  are  good 
enough  judges  themselves  of  what  is  worthy  their  reading.  I  am, 
also,  too  desirous  of  quiet  to  place  myself  in  the  way  of  conten 
tion.  Against  this  I  am  admonished  by  bodily  decay,  which  can 
not  be  unaccompanied  by  corresponding  wane  of  the  mind.  Of 
this  I  am  as  yet  sensible,  sufficiently  to  be  unwilling  to  trust  my 
self  before  the  public,  and  when  I  cease  to  be  so,  I  hope  that 
my  friends  will  be  too  careful  of  me  to  draw  me  forth  and  pre 
sent  me,  like  a  Priam  in  armor,  as  a  spectacle  for  public  compas 
sion.  I  hope  our  political  bark  will  ride  through  all  its  dangers  ; 
but  I  can  in  future  be  but  an  inert  passenger. 

I  salute  you  with  sentiments  of  great  friendship  and  respect. 

TO     DAVID     BAILEY     WARDEN.  J.  MSS. 

MONTICELLO,    Dec.  26.  20. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  acceptable  letters  of  Mar.  &  Apr.  20  and  of 
May    15.  of  the  present  year,  have  not  been  sooner  answered, 

172  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

nor  the  brochures  you  so  kindly  sent  me,  acknowledged  because 
the  state  of  my  health  has  in  a  great  degree  interdicted  to  me  the 
labors  of  the  writing  table.  Add  to  this  a  stiffening  wrist,  the 
effect  of  age  on  an  antient  dislocation,  which  is  likely  to  deprive 
me  entirely  of  the  use  of  the  pen. 

We  are  expecting  to  see  you  all  involved  in  war,  in  Europe. 
Revolutions  going  on  in  so  many  of  it's  countries,  such  military 
movements  to  suppress  them,  the  intestine  barbarisms  of  Engl? 
France,  and  Germany,  seem  impossible  to  pass  away  without  war  ; 
in  a  region  too  where  war  seems  to  be  the  natural  state  of  man. 

Nor  are  we  much  at  our  ease  here.  The  mischiefs  of  bank 
papers,  catastrophe  of  our  commerce,  sudden  and  continued  re 
duction  of  the  nominal  value  of  property  &  produce,  which  has 
doubled  and  trebled  in  fact  the  debts  of  those  who  owed  any 
thing,  place  us  in  a  state  of  great  depression.  But  nothing  dis 
turbs  us  so  much  as  the  dissension  lately  produced  by  what  is 
called  the  Missouri  question  :  a  question  having  just  enough  of 
the  semblance  of  morality  to  throw  dust  into  the  eyes  of  the  peo 
ple,  &  to  fanaticise  them  ;  while  with  the  knowing  ones  it  is  simply 
a  question  of  power.  The  Federalists,  unable  to  rise  again  under 
the  old  division  of  whig  and  tory,  have  invented  a  geographical 
division  which  gives  them  14.  states  against  10.  and  seduces  their 
old  opponents  into  a  coalition  with  them.  Real  morality  is  on 
the  other  side.  For  while  the  removal  of  slaves  from  one  state  to 
another  adds  no  more  to  their  numbers  than  their  removal  from 
one  country  to  another,  the  spreading  them  over  a  larger  surface 
adds  to  their  happiness  and  renders  their  future  emancipation 
more  practicable.  Mr.  Botta  when  he  published  his  excellent  his 
tory  of  our  revolution,  was  so  kind  as  to  send  me  a  copy  of  it,  for 
which  I  immediately  &  before  I  had  read  it,  returned  him  my 
thanks.  A  careful  perusal  as  soon  as  I  had  time  made  me  sensible 
of  it's  high  value,  and  anxious  to  get  it  translated  &  published. 
After  some  time  I  engaged  a  very  competent  person  to  undertake 
it,  &  lent  him  my  copy.  He  proceeded  however  very  slowly,  &  had 
made  little  progress  when  a  Mr.  Otis  sent  me  a  first  volume  of  a 
translation  he  had  made,  and  lately  a  zd,  the  3d  and  last 
being  now  in  press.  It  is  well  done,  and  I  am  anxious  to  send  a 
copy  to  Mr.  Botta,  if  I  can  find  the  means.  The  ist  difficulty  is. 

1820]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  173 

to  keep  it  out  of  the  French  post  office,  which  would  tax  it  beyond 
it's  value,  and  you  know  my  situation  among  the  mountains  of  the 
country,  &  how  little  probable  it  is  that  I  should  meet  with  a 
passenger  going  to  Paris.  I  will  therefore  address  a  copy  thro'  my 
friend  John  Vaughan  of  Philadelphia  and  request  him  to  deliver  it 
to  some  passenger  from  that  place  to  Paris.  Would  it  be  asking 
too  great  a  favor  of  you  to  mention  this,  with  my  great  respect,  to 
Mr.  Botta,  supplying  my  inability  to  write  ?  And  could  you  even 
go  further,  should  you  at  any  time  find  yourself  in  the  bookshop 
of  Messrs  Debures  and  say  to  them  that  I  shall  take  care  in  the 
spring  to  remit  them  the  /g.^,  balance  of  their  last  anovi,  which 
arrived  safely,  to  which  I  shall  add  a  further  call  for  some  books. 
Our  family,  all  present  at  least,  join  in  friendly  remembrances 
of  you.  Mr.  Randolph  is  at  present  our  Governor,  &  of  course  at 
Richmond.  He  has  had  the  courage  to  propose  to  our  legislature 
a  plan  of  general  emancipation  &  deportation  of  our  slaves. 
Altho  this  is  not  ripe  to  be  immediately  acted  on,  it  will,  with  the 
Missouri  question,  force  a  serious  attention  to  this  object  by  our 
citizens,  which  the  vicinage  of  St.  Domingo  brings  within  the 
scope  of  possibility.  I  salute  you  with  constant  &  affectionate 
respect  and  attachment. 

TO     A.  C.  V.  C.  DESTUTT     DE  TRACY.  J.  MSS. 

MONTICELLO,  Dec.  26.  20. 

Long  ill  health,  dear  Sir,  has  brought  me  much  into  default 
with  my  corresponding  friends,  and  it's  sufferings  have  been  aug 
mented  by  the  remorse  resulting  from  this  default.  I  learnt  with 
pleasure  from  your  last  letter,  and  from  a  later  one  of  M.  de  la 
Fayette,  that  you  were  mending  in  health,  and  particularly  that 
your  eye-sight  was  sensibly  improved.  I  have  to  thank  you  for 
the  copy  of  your  Commentary  on  Montesquieu  accompanying  your 
letter,  and  a  second  thro  Mr.  Barnet.  The  world  ought  to  possess 
it  in  it's  native  language,  which  cannot  be  compensated  by  any 
translation.  This  edition  published  here  is  now  exhausted,  and 
the  copyright  being  near  out,  it  will  be  reprinted  with  a  corrected 
translation.  For  altho  the  former  was  one  sent  to  me  for  revisal, 
sheet  by  sheet,  yet  the  original  not  being  sent  with  them  (for  the 

174  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

printer  was  100.  leagues  distant)  I  could  correct  inaccuracies  of 
language  only,  and  not  inconformities  of  sentiment  with  the  orig 
inal.  The  original  MS.  was  returned  to  me  afterwards,  and  I  hold 
it  as  testimony  against  the  infidelities  of  Liege,  or  of  another 

A  second  edition  of  your  Economic  Politique  will  soon  also  be 
called  for  here,  in  which  Milligan's  error  on  the  freedom  of  your 
press  will  not  be  repeated.  When  he  first  printed  the  Prospectus 
of  that  work,  the  observation  was  true,  as  it  was  some  time  be 
fore  your  original  was  published  in  Paris.  But  he  was  so  slow 
in  getting  it  thro*  the  press  that  the  original  appeared  before 
his  translation.  He  ought  certainly  after  that  to  have  omitted 
or  corrected  his  prospectus.  The  knowledge  however  of  your 
charter  has  corrected  the  error  here,  by  it's  sanction  of  the  free 
dom  of  the  press,  and  the  publication  of  the  work  there,  and  still 
more  that  of  the  commentary  on  Montesquieu  are  a  full  vindica 
tion  of  the  character  of  the  Charter.  These  two  works  will  be 
come  the  Statesman's  Manual,  with  us,  and  they  certainly  shall  be 
the  elementary  books  of  the  political  department  in  our  new  Uni 
versity.  This  institution  of  my  native  state,  the  Hobby  of  my 
old  age,  will  be  based  on  the  illimitable  freedom  of  the  human 
mind,  to  explore  and  to  expose  every  subject  susceptible  of  it's 

I  still  hold  and  duly  value  your  little  MS.  entitled  'Logique.' 
Being  too  small  to  make  a  volume  of  itself,  I  had  put  it  into  the 
hands  of  a  very  able  editor  of  a  periodical  publication  which 
promised  to  be  valuable.  It  would  have  made  a  distinguished 
article  in  that  work  ;  but  it's  continuance  having  failed  for  want 
of  the  encouragement  it  merited,  1  was  disappointed  in  the  hope 
of  giving,  to  the  world  this  compendious  demonstration  of  the 
reality  &  limits  of  human  knolege.  I  am  still  on  the  watch  for  a 
favorable  opportunity  of  doing  it.  I  am  not  without  the  hope 
that  the  improvement  in  your  health  may  enable  you  still  to  com- 
pleat  your  Encyclopedic  Morale,  by  adding  the  volume  which  was 
to  treat  of  our  sentiments  and  passions.  This  would  fill  up  our 
moral  circle,  and  the  measure  of  our  obligations  to  you. 

We  go  with  you  all  lengths  in  friendly  affections  to  the  inde- 
pendance  of  S.  America.  But  an  immediate  acknolegement  of  it 

i82o]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  175 

calls  up  other  considerations.  We  view  Europe  as  covering  at 
present  a  smothered  fire,  which  may  shortly  burst  forth  and  pro 
duce  general  conflagration.  From  this  it  is  our  duty  to  keep 
aloof.  A  formal  acknolegement  of  the  independance  of  her 
colonies  would  involve  us  with  Spain  certainly,  and  perhaps  too 
with  England,  if  she  thinks  that  a  war  would  divert  her  internal 
troubles.  Such  a  war  would  hurt  us  more  than  it  would  help  our 
brethren  of  the  South  :  and  our  right  may  be  doubted  of  mort 
gaging  posterity  for  the  expences  of  a  war  in  which  they  will 
have  a  right  to  say  their  interests  were  not  concerned.  It  is  in 
cumbent  on  every  generation  to  pay  it's  own  debts  as  it  goes.  A 
principle  which,  if  acted  on,  would  save  one  half  the  wars  of  the 
world  ;  and  justifies  I  think  our  present  circumspection.  In 
the  meantime  we  receive  &  protect  the  flag  of  S.  America  in  it's 
commercial  intercourse  with  us,  in  the  acknoleged  principles  of 
neutrality  between  two  belligerant  parties  in  a  civil  war  :  and  if 
we  should  not  be  the  first,  we  shall  certainly  be  the  second  nation 
in  acknoleging  the  entire  independance  of  our  new  friends. 
What  that  independance  will  end  in,  I  fear  is  problematical. 
Whether  in  wise  government  or  military  despotisms.  But  pre 
pared  however,  or  not,  for  self-government,  if  it  is  their  will  to 
make  the  trial,  it  is  our  duty  and  desire  to  wish  it  cordially 
success,  and  of  ultimate  success  there  can  be  no  doubt,  and  that 
it  will  richly  repay  all  intermediate  sufferings.  Of  this  your 
country,  as  well  as  ours,  furnishes  living  examples.  With  the  ex 
pression  of  hopes  for  them,  accept  my  prayers  for  the  perfect 
restoration  of  your  health,  &  it's  continuance  thro'  a  life  as  long 
as  you  shall  wish  it. 


MONTICELLO,  December  26,  1820. 

DEAR  SIR, — "  It  is  said  to  be  an  ill  wind  which  blows  favorably 
to  no  one."  My  health  has  long  suspended  the  too  frequent 
troubles  I  have  heretofore  given  you  with  my  European  corre 
spondence.  To  this  is  added  a  stiffening  wrist, — the  effects  of 
age  on  an  ancient  dislocation, — which  renders  writing  slow  and 
painful,  and  disables  me  nearly  from  all  correspondence,  and  may 

176  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

very  possibly  make  this  the  last  trouble  I  shall  give  you  in  that 

Looking  from  our  quarter  of  the  world  over  the  horizon  of 
yours,  we  imagine  we  see  storms  gathering  which  may  again  deso 
late  the  face  of  that  country.  So  many  revolutions  going  on  in 
different  countries  at  the  same  time,  such  combinations  of  tyranny 
and  military  preparations  and  movements  to  suppress  them,  Eng 
land  and  France  unsafe  from  internal  conflict,  Germany  on  the 
first  favorable  occasion  ripe  for  insurrection,  such  a  state  of  things, 
we  suppose,  must  end  in  war,  which  needs  a  kindling  spark  in  one 
spot  only  to  spread  over  the  whole.  Your  information  can  cor 
rect  these  views,  which  are  stated  only  to  inform  you  of  impres 
sions  here. 

At  home  things  are  not  well.  The  flood  of  paper  money,  as 
you  well  know,  had  produced  an  exaggeration  of  nominal  prices, 
and  at  the  same  time  a  facility  of  obtaining  money,  which  not 
only  encouraged  speculations  on  fictitious  capital,  but  seduced 
those  of  real  capital,  even  in  private  life,  to  contract  debts  too 
freely.  Had  things  continued  in  the  same  course,  these  might 
have  been  managable :  but  the  operations  of  the  United  States 
Bank  for  the  demolition  of  the  States  banks  obliged  these  sud 
denly  to  call  in  more  than  half  their  paper,  crushed  all  fictitious 
and  doubtful  capital,  and  reduced  the  prices  of  property  and  pro 
duce  suddenly  to  one-third  of  what  they  had  been.  Wheat,  for 
example,  at  the  distance  of  two  or  three  days  from  market,  fell 
to,  and  continued  at,  from  one-third  to  half  a  dollar.  Should  it 
be  stationary  at  this  for  a  while,  a  very  general  revolution  of 
property  must  take  place.  Something  of  the  same  character  has 
taken  place  in  our  fiscal  system.  A  little  while  back,  Congress 
seemed  at  a  loss  for  objects  whereon  to  squander  the  supposed 
fathomless  fund  of  our  Treasury.  This  short  frenzy  has  been 
arrested  by  a  deficit  of  5  millions  the  last  year  and  of  7  millions 
this  year.  A  loan  was  adopted  for  the  former  and  is  proposed  for 
the  latter,  which  threatens  to  saddle  us  with  a  perpetual  debt.  I 
hope  a  tax  will  be  preferred,  because  it  will  awaken  the  attention 
of  the  people  and  make  reformation  and  economy  the  principles 
of  the  next  election.  The  frequent  recurrence  of  this  chastening 
operation  can  alone  restrain  the  propensity  of  governments  to 

1820]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  177 

enlarge  expense  beyond  income.  The  steady  tenor  of  the  courts 
of  the  United  States  to  break  down  the  constitutional  barriers  be 
tween  the  co-ordinate  powers  of  the  States  and  of  the  Union,  and 
a  formal  opinion  lately  given  by  five  lawyers  of  too  much  emi 
nence,  to  be  neglected,  give  uneasiness.  But  nothing  has  ever 
presented  so  threatening  an  aspect  as  what  is  called  the  Missouri 
question.  The  Federalists,  completely  put  down  and  despairing 
of  ever  rising  again  under  the  old  divisions  of  Whig  and  Tory, 
devised  a  new  one  of  slave-holding  and  non-slave-holding  States, 
which,  while  it  had  a  semblance  of  being  moral,  was  at  the  same 
time  geographical,  and  calculated  to  give  them  ascendency  by 
debauching  their  old  opponents  to  a  coalition  with  them.  Moral 
the  question  certainly  is  not,  because  the  removal  of  slaves  from 
one  State  to  another,  no  more  than  their  removal  from  one  coun 
try  to  another,  would  never  make  a  slave  of  one  human  being 
who  would  not  be  so  without  it.  Indeed,  if  there  were  any  mor 
ality  in  the  question  it  is  on  the  other  side  ;  because  by  spreading 
them  over  a  larger  surface  their  happiness  would  be  increased, 
and  burden  of  their  future  liberation  lightened  by  bringing  a 
greater  number  of  shoulders  under  it.  However,  it  served  to 
throw  dust  into  the  eyes  of  the  people  and  to  fanaticize  them, 
while  to  the  knowing  ones  it  gave  a  geographical  and  preponder 
ant  line  of  the  Potomac  and  Ohio,  throwing  fourteen  States  to  the 
North  and  East,  and  ten  to  the  South  and  West.  With  these, 
therefore,  it  is  merely  a  question  of  power ;  but  with  this  geo 
graphical  minority  it  is  a  question  of  existence.  For  if  Congress 
once  goes  out  of  the  Constitution  to  arrogate  a  right  of  regulating 
the  condition  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  States,  its  majority  may, 
and  probably  will,  next  declare  that  the  condition  of  all  men 
within  the  United  States  shall  be  that  of  freedom  ;  in  which  case 
all  the  whites  south  of  the  Potomac  and  Ohio  must  evacuate  their 
States,  and  most  fortunate  those  who  can  do  it  first.  And  so  far 
this  crisis  seems  to-  be  advancing.  The  Missouri  constitution  is 
recently  rejected  by  the  House  of  Representatives  ;  what  will  be 
their  next  step  is  yet  to  be  seen.  If  accepted  on  the  condition 
that  Missouri  shall  expunge  from  it  the  prohibition  of  free  people 
of  color  from  emigration  to  their  State,  it  will  be  expunged,  and 
all  will  be  quieted  until  the  advance  of  some  new  State,  shall  pre- 

VOL.  X.— 12 

178  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

sent  the  question  again.  If  rejected  unconditionally,  Missouri 
assumes  independent  self-government,  and  Congress,  after  pout 
ing  awhile,  must  receive  them  on  the  footing  of  the  original 
States.  Should  the  Representatives  propose  force,  i,  the  Senate 
will  not  concur  ;  2,  were  they  to  concur,  there  would  be  a  seces 
sion  of  the  members  south  of  the  line,  and  probably  of  the  three 
Northwestern  States,  who,  however  inclined  to  the  other  side, 
would  scarcely  separate  from  those  who  would  hold  the  Missis 
sippi  from  its  mouth  to  its  source.  What  next  ?  Conjecture  itself 
is  at  a  loss.  But  whatever  it  shall  be  you  will  hear  from  others 
and  from  the  newspapers  ;  and  finally  the  whole  will  depend  on 
Pennsylvania.  While  she  and  Virginia  hold  together,  the  Atlantic 
States  can  never  separate.  Unfortunately,  in  the  present  case  she 
has  become  more  fanatisized  than  any  other  State.  However 
useful  where  you  are,  I  wish  you  were  with  them.  You  might 
turn  the  scale  there,  which  would  turn  it  for  the  whole.  Should 
this  scission  take  place,  one  of  the  most  deplorable  consequences 
would  be  its  discouragement  of  the  efforts  of  the  European 
nations  in  the  regeneration  of  their  oppressive  and  cannibal  gov 
ernments.  Amidst  this  prospect  of  evil  I  am  glad  to  see  one  good 
effect.  It  has  brought  the  necessity  of  some  plan  of  general 
emancipation  and  deportation  more  home  to  the  minds  of  our 
people  than  it  has  ever  been  before,  insomuch  that  our  governor 
has  ventured  to  propose  one  to  the  Legislature.  This  will  proba 
bly  not  be  acted  on  at  this  time,  nor  would  it  be  effectual  ;  for, 
while  it  proposes  to  devote  to  that  object  one-third  of  the  revenue 
of  the  State,  it  would  not  reach  one-tenth  of  the  annual  increase. 
My  proposition  would  be  that  the  holders  should  give  up  all  born 
after  a  certain  day,  past,  present,  or  to  come  ;  that  these  should 
be  placed  under  the  guardianship  of  the  State,  and  sent  at  a 
proper  age  to  St.  Domingo.  They  are  willing  to  receive  them, 
and  the  shortness  of  the  passage  brings  the  deportation  within  the 
possible  means  of  taxation,  aided  by  charitable  contributions. 
In  these  I  think  Europe,  which  has  forced  this  evil  on  us,  and  the 
Eastern  States,  who  have  been  its  chief  instruments  of  importa 
tion,  would  be  bound  to  give  largely.  But  the  proceeds  of  the 
land  office,  if  appropriate  to  this,  would  be  quite  sufficient.  God 
bless  you,  and  preserve  you  multos  aflos. 

1820]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  179 


MONTICELLO,  December  26,  1820. 

It  is  long,  indeed,  my  very  dear  friend,  since  I  have 
been  able  to  address  a  letter  to  you.  For  more  than 
two  years  my  health  has  been  so  entirely  prostrate, 
that  I  have,  of  necessity,  intermitted  all  correspond 
ence.  The  dislocated  wrist,  too,  which  perhaps  you 
may  recollect,  has  now  become  so  stiff  from  the 
effects  of  age,  that  writing  is  become  a  slow  and 
painful  operation,  and  scarcely  ever  undertaken  but 
under  the  goad  of  imperious  business.  In  the  mean 
time  your  country  has  been  going  on  less  well  than  I 
had  hoped.  But  it  will  go  on.  The  light  which  has 
been  shed  on  the  mind  of  man  through  the  civilized 
world,  has  given  it  a  new  direction,  from  which  no 
human  power  can  divert  it.  The  sovereigns  of  Eu 
rope  who  are  wise,  or  have  wise  counsellors,  see  this, 
and  bend  to  the  breese  which  blows  ;  the  unwise 
alone  stiffen  and  meet  its  inevitable  crush.  The  vol 
canic  rumblings  in  the  bowels  of  Europe,  from  north 
to  south,  seem  to  threaten  a  general  explosion,  and 
the  march  of  armies  into  Italy  cannot  end  in  a  simple 
march.  The  disease  of  liberty  is  catching ;  those 
armies  will  take  it  in  the  south,  carry  it  thence  to 
their  own  country,  spread  there  the  infection  of  revo 
lution  and  representative  government,  and  raise  its 
people  from- the  prone  condition  of  brutes  to  the 
erect  altitude  of  man.  Some  fear  our  envelopment 
in  the  wars  engendering  from  the  unsettled  state  of 
our  affairs  with  Spain,  and  therefore  are  anxious  for 
a  ratification  of  our  treaty  with  her.  I  fear  no  such 

i8o  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1820 

thing,  and  hope  that  if  ratified  by  Spain  it  will  be  re 
jected  here.  We  may  justly  say  to  Spain,  "when 
this  negotiation  commenced,  twenty  years  ago,  your 
authority  was  acknowledged  by  those  you  are  selling 
to  us.  That  authority  is  now  renounced,  and  their 
right  of  self-disposal  asserted.  In  buying  them  from 
you,  then,  we  buy  but  a  war-title,  a  right  to  subdue 
them,  which  you  can  neither  convey  nor  we  acquire. 
This  is  a  family  quarrel  in  which  we  have  no  right  to 
meddle.  Settle  it  between  yourselves,  and  we  will 
then  treat  with  the  party  whose  right  is  acknow 
ledged."  With  whom  that  will  be,  no  doubt  can  be 
entertained.  And  why  should  we  revolt  them  by 
purchasing  them  as  cattle,  rather  than  receiving  them 
as  fellow-men  ?  Spain  has  held  off  until  she  sees 
they  are  lost  to  her,  and  now  thinks  it  better  to  get 
something  than  nothing  for  them.  When  she  shall 
see  South  America  equally  desperate,  she  will  be  wise 
to  sell  that  also. 

With  us  things  are  going  on  well.  The  boisterous 
sea  of  liberty  indeed  is  never  without  a  wave,  and 
that  from  Missouri  is  now  rolling  towards  us,  but  we 
shall  ride  over  it  as  we  have  over  all  others.  It  is 
not  a  moral  question,  but  one  merely  of  power.  Its 
object  is  to  raise  a  geographical  principle  for  the 
choice  of  a  president,  and  the  noise  will  be  kept  up 
till  that  is  effected.  All  know  that  permitting  the 
slaves  of  the  south  to  spread  into  the  west  will  not 
add  one  being  to  that  unfortunate  condition,  that  it 
will  increase  the  happiness  of  those  existing,  and  by 
spreading  them  over  a  larger  surface,  will  dilute  the 

1821]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  181 

evil  everywhere,  and  facilitate  the  means  of  getting 
finally  rid  of  it,  an  event  more  anxiously  wished 
by  those  on  whom  it  presses  than  by  the  noisy 
pretenders  to  exclusive  humanity.  In  the  meantime, 
it  is  a  ladder  for  rivals  climbing  to  power.  *  *  * 


MONTICELLO,  Jan.  13,  21. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  return  you  Mr.  Coxe's  letter  without  saying  I 
have  read  it.  I  made  out  enough  to  see  that  it  was  about  the 
Missouri  question,  and  the  printed  papers  told  me  on  which  side 
he  was.  Could  I  have  devoted  a  day  to  it,  by  interlining  the 
words  as  I  could  pick  them  out,  I  might  have  got  at  more.  The 
lost  books  of  Livy  or  Tacitus  might  be  worth  this.  Our  friend 
would  do  well  to  write  less  and  write  plainer. 

I  am  sorry  to  hear  of  the  situation  of  your  family,  and  the  more 
so  as  that  species  of  fever  is  dangerous  in  the  hands  of  our  medi 
cal  boys.  I  am  not  a  physician  &  still  less  a  quack  but  I  may  re 
late  a  fact.  While  I  was  at  Paris,  both  my  daughters  were  taken 
with  what  we  formerly  called  a  nervous  fever,  now  a  typhus,  dis 
tinguished  very  certainly  by  a  thread-like  pulse,  low,  quick  and 
every  now  and  then  fluttering.  Dr.  Gem,  an  English  physician, 
old,  &  of  great  experience,  &  certainly  the  ablest  I  ever  met  with, 
attended  them.  The  one  was  about  5.  or  6.  weeks  ill,  the  other 
10.  years  old  was  8.  or  ten  weeks.  He  never  gave  them  a  single 
dose  of  physic.  He  told  me  it  was  a  disease  which  tended  with 
certainty  to  wear  itself  off,  but  so  slowly  that  the  strength  of  the 
patient  might  first  fail  if  not  kept  up.  That  this  alone  was  the 
object  to  be  attended  to  by  nourishment  and  stimulus.  He  forced 
them  to  eat  a  cup  of  rice,  or  panada,  or  gruel,  or  of  some  of  the 
farinaceous  substances  of  easy  digestion  every  2.  hours  and  to 
drink  a  glass  of  Madeira.  The  youngest  took  a  pint  of  Madeira 
a  day  without  feeling  it,  and  that  for  many  weeks.  For  costive- 
ness,  injections  were  used  ;  and  he  observed  that  a  single  dose 
of  medicine  taken  into  the  stomach  and  consuming  any  of  the 

182  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1821 

strength  of  the  patient  was  often  fatal.  He  was  attending  a 
grandson  of  Mme.  Helvetius,  of  10  years  old,  at  the  same  time,  & 
under  the  same  disease.  The  boy  got  so  low  that  the  old  lady 
became  alarmed  and  wished  to  call  in  another  physician  for  con 
sultation.  Gem  consented,  that  physician  gave  a  gentle  purgative, 
but  it  exhausted  what  remained  of  strength,  and  the  patient  ex 
pired  in  a  few  hours. 

I  have  had  this  fever  in  my  family  3.  or  4.  times  since  I  have 
lived  at  home,  and  have  carried  between  20.  &  30.  patients  thro' 
it  without  losing  a  single  one,  by  a  rigorous  observance  of  Dr. 
Gem's  plan  and  principle.  Instead  of  Madeira  I  have  used  toddy 
of  French  brandy  about  as  strong  as  Madeira.  Brown  preferred 
this  stimulus  to  Madeira.  I  rarely  had  a  case,  if  taken  in  hand 
early,  to  last  above  i.  2.  or  3.  weeks,  except  a  single  one  of  7. 
weeks,  in  whom  when  I  thought  him  near  his  last,  I  discovered  a 
change  in  his  pulse  to  regularity,  and  in  12.  hours  he  was  out  of 
danger.  I  vouch  for  these  facts  only,  not  for  their  theory.  You 
may  on  their  authority,  think  it  expedient  to  try  a  single  case  be 
fore  it  has  shewn  signs  of  danger. 

On  the  portentous  question  before  Congress,  I  think  our  Holy 
Alliance  will  find  themselves  so  embarrassed  with  the  difficulties 
presented  to  them  as  to  find  their  solution  only  in  yielding  to 
Missouri  her  entrance  on  the  same  footing  with  the  other  states, 
that  is  to  say  with  the  right  to  admit  or  exclude  slaves  at  her  own 
discretion.  Ever  &  affectionately  yours. 

P.  S.  I  should  have  observed  that  the  same  typhus  fever  pre 
vailed  in  my  neighborhood  at  the  same  times  as  in  my  family, 
and  that  it  was  very  fatal  in  the  hands  of  our  Philadelphia  Tyros. 


MONTICELLO,  January  19,  1821. 

DEAR  FRANCIS, — Your  letter  of  the  ist  came  safely  to  hand. 
I  am  sorry  you  have  lost  Mr.  Elliot,  however  the  kindness  of 
Dr.  Cooper  will  be  able  to  keep  you  in  the  track  of  what  is 
worthy  of  your  time. 

1821]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  183 

You  ask  my  opinion  of  Lord  Bolingbroke  and  Thomas  Paine. 
They  were  alike  in  making  bitter  enemies  of  the  priests  and 
pharisees  of  their  day.  Both  were  honest  men  ;  both  advocates 
for  human  liberty.  Paine  wrote  for  a  country  which  permitted 
him  to  push  his  reasoning  to  whatever  length  it  would  go.  Lord 
Bolingbroke  in  one  restrained  by  a  constitution,  and  by  public 
opinion.  He  was  called  indeed  a  tory  ;  but  his  writings  prove 
him  a  stronger  advocate  for  liberty  than  any  of  his  countrymen, 
the  whigs  of  the  present  day.  Irritated  by  his  exile,  he  com 
mitted  one  act  unworthy  of  him,  in  connecting  himself  moment 
arily  with  a  prince  rejected  by  his  country.  But  he  redeemed 
that  single  act  by  his  establishment  of  the  principles  which  proved 
it  to  be  wrong.  These  two  persons  differed  remarkably  in  the 
style  of  their  writing,  each  leaving  a  model  of  what  is  most  per 
fect  in  both  extremes  of  the  simple  and  the  sublime.  No  writer 
has  exceeded  Paine  in  ease  and  familiarity  of  style,  in  perspi 
cuity  of  expression,  happiness  of  elucidation,  and  in  simple  and 
unassuming  language.  In  this  he  may  be  compared  with  Dr. 
Franklin  ;  and  indeed  his  Common  Sense  was,  for  awhile,  be 
lieved  to  have  been  written  by  Dr.  Franklin,  and  published  un 
der  the  borrowed  name  of  Paine,  who  had  come  over  with  him 
from  England.  Lord  Bolingbroke's,  on  the  other  hand,  is  a 
style  of  the  highest  order.  The  lofty,  rhythmical,  full-flowing 
eloquence  of  Cicero.  Periods  of  just  measure,  their  members 
proportioned,  their  close  full  and  round.  His  conceptions,  too, 
are  bold  and  strong,  his  diction  copious,  polished  and  command 
ing  as  his  subject.  His  writings  are  certainly  the  finest  samples 
in  the  English  language,  of  the  eloquence  proper  for  the  Senate. 
His  political  tracts  are  safe  reading  for  the  most  timid  religion 
ist,  his  philosophical,  for  those  who  are  not  afraid  to  trust  their 
reason  with  discussions  of  right  and  wrong. 

You  have  asked  my  opinion  of  these  persons,  and,  io  you,  I 
have  given  it  freely.  But,  remember,  that  I  am  old,  that  I  wish 
not  to  make  new  enemies,  nor  to  give  offence  to  those  who 
would  consider  a  difference  of  opinion  as  sufficient  ground  for 
unfriendly  dispositions.  God  bless  you,  and  make  you  what  I 
wish  you  to  be. 

1 84  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1821 


MONTICELLO,  January  ig,  1821. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  duly  received  your  favor  of  the  nth,  covering 
Judge  Roane's  letter,  which  I  now  return.  Of  the  kindness  of 
his  sentiments  expressed  towards  myself  I  am  highly  sensible  ; 
and  could  I  believe  that  my  public  services  had  merited  the  ap 
probation  he  so  indulgently  bestows,  the  satisfaction  I  should 
derive  from  it  would  be  reward  enough  to  his  wish  that  I  would 
take  a  part  in  the  transactions  of  the  present  day.  I  am  sensible 
of  my  incompetence.  For  first,  I  know  little  about  them,  having 
long  withdrawn  my  attention  from  public  affairs,  and  resigned 
myself  with  folded  arms  to  the  care  of  those  who  are  to  care  for 
us  all.  And,  next,  the  hand  of  time  pressing  heavily  on  me,  in 
mind  as  well  as  body,  leaves  to  neither  sufficient  energy  to  engage 
in  public  contentions.  I  am  sensible  of  the  inroads  daily  making 
by  the  federal,  into  the  jurisdiction  of  its  co-ordinate  associates, 
the  State  governments.  The  legislative  and  executive  branches 
may  sometimes  err,  but  elections  and  dependence  will  bring  them 
to  rights/-  The  judiciary  branch  is  the  instrument  which,  working 
like  gravity,  without  intermission,  is  to  press  us  at  last  into  one 
consolidated  mass.  Against  this  I  know  no  one  who,  equally 
with  Judge  Roane  himself,  possesses  the  power  and  the  courage  to 
make  resistance  ;  and  to  him  I  look,  and  have  long  looked,  as  our 
strongest  bulwark.  If  Congress  fails  to  shield  the  States  from 
dangers  so  palpable  and  so  imminent,  the  States  must  shield  them 
selves,  and  meet  the  invader  foot  to  foot.  This  is  already  half 
done  by  Colonel  Taylor's  book  ;  because  a  conviction  that  we  are 
right  accomplishes  half  the  difficulty  of  correcting  wrong.  This 
book  is  the  most  effectual  retraction  of  our  government  to  its 
original  principles  which  has  ever  yet  been  sent  by  heaven  to  our 
aid.  Every  State  in  the  Union  should  give  a  copy  to  every  mem 
ber  they  elect,  as  a  standing  instruction,  and  ours  should  set  the 
example.  Accept  with  Mrs.  Thweat  the  assurance  of  my  affec 
tionate  and  respectful  attachment.1 

1  Jefferson  again  wrote  to  Thweat  : 

MONTICELLO,  Dec.  24,  21. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  duly  received  your  two  favors  of  Nov.  6.  &  Dec.  13.  re 
questing  me  to  consent  to  the  publication  of  my  opinion  on  the  encroachments 

i82i]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  185 


MONTICELLO,  January  22,  1821. 

I  was  quite  rejoiced,  dear  Sir,  to  see  that  you  had 
health  and  spirits  enough  to  take  part  in  the  late  con 
vention  of  your  State,  for  revising  its  constitution, 
and  to  bear  your  share  in  its  debates  and  labors. 
The  amendments  of  which  we  have  as  yet  heard, 
prove  the  advance  of  liberalism  in  the  intervening 
period ;  and  encourage  a  hope  that  the  human  mind 
will  some  day  get  back  to  the  freedom  it  enjoyed  two 
thousand  years  ago.  This  country,  which  has  given 
to  the  world  the  example  of  physical  liberty,  owes  to 
it  that  of  moral  emancipation  also,  for  as  yet  it  is  but 
nominal  with  us.  The  inquisition  of  public  opinion 
overwhelms  in  practice,  the  freedom  asserted  by  the 
laws  in  theory. 

of  the  judiciary  of  the  U.S.  expressed  in  a  former  letter  to  you,  but  my  dear 
Sir,  there  is  a  time  for  things  ;  for  advancing  and  for  retiring  ;  for  a  Sabbath  of 
rest  as  well  as  for  days  of  labor,  and  surely  that  Sabbath  has  arrived  for  one 
near  entering  on  his  Both  year.  Tranquility  is  the  summum  bonum  of  that  age.  I 
wish  now  for  quiet,  to  withdraw  from  the  broils  of  the  world,  to  soothe  enmities 
and  to  die  in  the  peace  and  good  will  of  all  mankind.  The  thing  too  which  you 
request  has  been  done  in  substance.  In  the  extract  of  a  letter,  published  with 
my  consent,  recommending  Colo.  Taylor's  book,  and  in  a  letter  to  a  Mr.  Jarvis, 
who  wrote  and  sent  me  a  book  entitled  '  the  Republican,'  in  which  letter,  I  for 
mally  combated  his  heretical  doctrine  that  the  judiciary  is  the  ultimate  expounder 
and  arbiter  of  all  constitutional  questions.  You  are  not  aware  of  the  inveterate 
hatred  still  rankling  in  the  hearts  of  some  of  our  old  tories.  I  received  the  last 
summer  a  4th  of  July  oration  from  the  son  of  a  deceased  friend.  In  my 
answer  I  commended  it's  principles  in  moderate  and  inoffensive  terms,  express 
ing  at  the  same  time  my  affections  for  his  father.  He  published  my  letter,  and 
it  drew  on  me  torrents  of  abuse,  from  particular  tory  papers,  in  the  revived 
spirit  of  96.  and  1800.  Their  columns  were  filled  with  Billingsgate  against  me, 
for  several  months.  No,  my  dear  friend,  permit  me  at  length  to  retire  from 
the  angry  passions  of  mankind  and  to  pass  in  undisturbed  repose  the  few  days 
remaining  to  me  of  life.  They  will  surely  be  past  in  sentiments  of  sincere  es 
teem  and  respect  for  yourself,  and  affectionate  attachment  to  Mrs.  Thweat. 

1 86  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1821 

Our  anxieties  in  this  quarter  are  all  concentrated 
in  the  question,  what  does  the  Holy  Alliance  in  and 
out  of  Congress  mean  to  do  with  us  on  the  Missouri 
question  ?  And  this,  by-the-bye,  is  but  the  name  of 
the  case,  it  is  only  the  John  Doe  or  Richard  Roe  of 
the  ejectment.  The  real  question,  as  seen  in  the 
States  afflicted  with  this  unfortunate  population,  is, 
are  our  slaves  to  be  presented  with  freedom  and  a 
dagger  ?  For  if  Congress  has  the  power  to  regulate 
the  conditions  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  States,  within 
the  States,  it  will  be  but  another  exercise  of  that 
power,  to  declare  that  all  shall  be  free.  Are  we  then 
to  see  again  Athenian  and  Lacedemonian  confedera 
cies  ?  To  wage  another  Peloponnesian  war  to  settle 
the  ascendency  between  them  ?  Or  is  this  the  tocsin 
of  merely  a  servile  war  ?  That  remains  to  be  seen  ; 
but  not,  I  hope,  by  you  or  me.  Surely,  they  will 
parley  awhile,  and  give  us  time  to  get  out  of  the  way. 
What  a  Bedlamite  is  man  ?  But  let  us  turn  from  our 
own  uneasiness  to  the  miseries  of  our  southern 
friends.  Bolivar  and  Morillo,  it  seems,  have  come  to 
the  parley,  with  dispositions  at  length  to  stop  the  use 
less  effusion  of  human  blood  in  that  quarter.  I  feared 
from  the  beginning,  that  these  people  were  not  yet 
sufficiently  enlightened  for  self-government ;  and  that 
after  wading  through  blood  and  slaughter,  they  would 
end  in  military  tyrannies,  more  or  less  numerous. 
Yet  as  they  wished  to  try  the  experiment,  I  wished 
them  success  in  it ;  they  have  now  tried  it,  and  will 
possibly  find  that  their  safest  road  will  be  an  accom 
modation  with  the  mother  country,  which  shall  hold 

1821]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  187 

them  together  by  the  single  link  of  the  same  chief 
magistrate,  leaving  to  him  power  enough  to  keep 
them  in  peace  with  one  another,  and  to  themselves 
the  essential  power  of  self-government  and  self-im 
provement,  until  they  shall  be  sufficiently  trained  by 
education  and  habits  of  freedom,  to  walk  safely  by 
themselves.  Representative  government,  native  func 
tionaries,  a  qualified  negative  on  their  laws,  with  a 
previous  security  by  compact  for  freedom  of  com 
merce,  freedom  of  the  press,  habeas  corpus and  trial  by 
jury,  would  make  a  good  beginning.  This  last  would 
be  the  school  in  which  their  people  might  begin  to 
learn  the  exercise  of  civil  duties  as  well  as  rights. 
For  freedom  of  religion  they  are  not  yet  prepared. 
The  scales  of  bigotry  have  not  sufficiently  fallen 
from  their  eyes,  to  accept  it  for  themselves  indi 
vidually,  much  less  to  trust  others  with  it.  But  that 
will  come  in  time,  as  well  as  a  general  ripeness  to 
break  entirely  from  the  parent  stem.  You  see,  my 
dear  Sir,  how  easily  we  prescribe  for  others  a  cure  for 
their  difficulties,  while  we  cannot  cure  our  own.  We 
must  leave  both,  I  believe,  to  heaven,  and  wrap  our 
selves  up  in  the  mantle  of  resignation,  and  of  that 
friendship  of  which  I  tender  to  you  the  most  sincere 

TO  GEORGE  A.  OTIS.  j.  MSS. 

MONTICELLO,  Feb.  15.  21. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  just  now  received  your  favor  of  Jan.  30. 
and  confirm,  by  my  belief,  Mr.  Jay's  criticism  on  the  passages 
quoted  from  Botta.  I  can  answer  for  it's  truth  from  this  state 

1 88  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1821 

southwardly,  and  Northwardly,  I  believe,  to  New  York,  for  which 
state  Mr.  Jay  is  himself  a  competent  witness.  What,  Eastward  of 
that,  might  be  the  dispositions  towards  England  before  the  com 
mencement  of  hostilities  I  know  not.  Before  that  I  never  had 
heard  a  whisper  of  disposition  to  separate  from  Great  Britain. 
And  after  that,  it's  possibility  was  contemplated  with  affliction  by 
all.  Writing  is  so  slow  and  painful  to  me  that  I  cannot  go  into 
details,  but  must  refer  you  to  Girardin's  history  of  Virginia  pa. 
134.  and  Appendix  No.  12,  where  you  will  find  some  evidence  of 
what  the  sentiment  was  at  the  moment,  and  given  at  the  moment. 
I  salute  you  with  great  esteem  &  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  March  9,  1821. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  am  indebted  for  your  favor  of  February  25th, 
and  especially  for  your  friendly  indulgence  to  my  excuses  for  re 
tiring  from  the  polemical  world.  I  should  not  shrink  from  the 
post  of  duty,  had  not  the  decays  of  nature  withdrawn  me  from 
the  list  of  combatants.  Great  decline  in  the  energies  of  the  body 
import  naturally  a  corresponding  wane  of  the  mind,  and  a  long 
ing  after  tranquillity  as  the  last  and  sweetest  asylum  of  age.  It 
is  a  law  of  nature  that  the  generations  of  men  should  give  way, 
one  to  another,  and  I  hope  that  the  one  now  on  the  stage  will 
preserve  for  their  sons  the  political  blessings  delivered  into  their 
hands  by  their  fathers.  Time  indeed  changes  manners  and  no 
tions,  and  so  far  we  must  expect  institutions  to  bend  to  them. 
But  time  produces  also  corruption  of  principles,  and  against  this 
it  is  the  duty  of  good  citizens  to  be  ever  on  the  watch,  and  if  the 
gangrene  is  to  prevail  at  last,  let  the  day  be  kept  off  as  long  as 
possible.  We  see  already  germs  of  this,  as  might  be  expected. 
But  we  are  not  the  less  bound  to  press  against  them.  The  mul 
tiplication  of  public  offices,  increase  of  expense  beyond  income, 
growth  and  entailment  of  a  public  debt,  are  indications  soliciting 
the  employment  of  the  pruning-knife  ;  and  I  doubt  not  it  will  be 
employed  ;  good  principles  being  as  yet  prevalent  enough  for 

1821]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  189 

The  great  object  of  my  fear  is  the  federal  judiciary.  That 
body,  like  gravity,  ever  acting,  with  noiseless  foot,  and  unalarm- 
ing  advance,  gaining  ground  step  by  step,  and  holding  what  it 
gains,  is  ingulphing  insidiously  the  special  governments  into  the 
jaws  of  that  which  feeds  them.  The  recent  recall  to  first  prin 
ciples,  however,  by  Colonel  Taylor,  by  yourself,  and  now  by 
Alexander  Smith,  will,  I  hope,  be  heard  and  obeyed,  and  that  a 
temporary  check  will  be  effected.  Yet  be  not  weary  of  well 
doing.  Let  the  eye  of  vigilance  never  be  closed. 

Last  and  most  portentous  of  all  is  the  Missouri  question.  It  is 
smeared  over  for  the  present  ;  but  its  geographical  demarcation  is 
indelible.  What  it  is  to  become,  I  see  not ;  and  leave  to  those 
who  will  live  to  see  it.  The  University  will  give  employment 
to  my  remaining  years,  and  quite  enough  for  my  senile  faculties. 
It  is  the  last  act  of  usefulness  I  can  render,  and  could  I  see  it 
open  I  would  not  ask  an  hour  more  of  life.  To  you  I  hope 
many  will  still  be  given  ;  and,  certain  they  will  all  be  employed 
for  the  good  of  our  beloved  country,  I  salute  you  with  sentiments 
of  especial  friendship  and  respect.1 

1  Jefferson  further  wrote  to  Judge  Roane  : 

MONTICELLO,  June  27,  1821. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  received  through  the  hands  of  the  Governor,  Colonel 
Taylor's  letter  to  you.  It  is  with  extreme  reluctance  that  I  permit  myself  to 
usurp  the  office  of  an  adviser  of  the  public,  what  books  they  should  read,  and 
what  not.  I  yield,  however,  on  this  occasion  to  your  wish  and  that  of  Colonel 
Taylor,  and  do  what  (with  a  single  exception  only)  I  never  did  before,  on  the 
many  similar  applications  made  to  me.  On  reviewing  my  letters  to  Colonel 
Taylor  and  to  Mr.  Thweat,  neither  appeared  exactly  proper.  Each  contained 
matter  which  might  give  offence  to  the  judges,  without  adding  strength  to  the 
opinion.  I  have,  therefore,  out  of  the  two,  cooked  up  what  may  be  called  "  an 

extract  of  a  letter  from  Th :  J.  to ;  "  but  without  saying  it  is  published 

•with  my  consent.  That  would  forever  deprive  me  of  the  ground  of  declining 
the  office  of  a  Reviewer'of  books  in  future  cases.  I  sincerely  wish  the  attention 
of  the  public  may  be  drawn  to  the  doctrines  of  the  book  ;  and  if  this  self-styled 
extract  may  contribute  to  it,  I  shall  be  gratified.  I  salute  you  with  constant 
friendship  and  respect. 

The  "  cooked  up  "  commendation  was : 


"  I  have  read  Colonel  Taylor's  book  of  '  Constructions  Construed,'  with 
great  satisfaction,  and,  I  will  say,  with  edification  ;  for  I  acknowledge  it  cor- 

190  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1821 


MONTICELLO,  Apr.  12.  21. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  received  yesterday  your  favor  of  the  5th  and  now 
inclose  for  Mr.  Barton  a  letter  of  introduction  to  M.  de  la  Fayette, 
the  only  personal  acquaintance  I  have,  now  living  in  France. 

On  politics  I  can  say  little  to  you,  having  withdrawn  all  atten 
tion  to  them  from  the  day  of  my  retirement.  My  confidence  in 
both  my  successors  has  been  so  entire,  that  assured  that  all  was 
going  on  for  the  best  under  their  care  I  have  not  enquired  what 
was  going  on.  I  am  sorry  to  see  our  expences  greater  than  our 
income.  Debt  &  revolution  are  inseparable  as  cause  and  effect. 
It  is  the  point  of  peculiar  sensibility  in  our  people,  and  one 
which  they  will  not  long  endure.  Parties  will  be  arrayed  on  the 
principle  of  reformation,  and  there  can  be  no  doubt  which  will 

reeled  some  errors  of  opinion  into  which  I  had  slidden  without  sufficient  exam 
ination.  It  is  the  most  logical  retraction  of  our  governments  to  the  original  and 
true  principles  of  the  constitution  creating  them,  which  has  appeared  since  the 
adoption  of  that  instrument.  I  may  not  perhaps  concur  in  all  its  opinions, 
great  and  small ;  for  no  two  men  ever  thought  alike  on  so  many  points.  But 
on  all  its  important  questions,  it  contains  the  true  political  faith,  to  which  every 
catholic  republican  should  steadfastly  hold.  It  should  be  put  into  the  hands  of 
all  our  functionaries,  authoritatively,  as  a  standing  instruction,  and  true  expo 
sition  of  our  Constitution,  as  understood  at  the  time  we  agreed  to  it.  It  is  a 
fatal  heresy  to  suppose  that  either  our  State  governments  are  superior  to  the 
federal,  or  the  federal  to  the  States.  The  people,  to  whom  all  authority  be 
longs,  have  divided  the  powers  of  government  into  two  distinct  departments, 
the  leading  characters  of  which  are  foreign  and  domestic  ;  and  they  have  ap 
pointed  for  each  a  distinct  set  of  functionaries.  These  they  have  made  co-ordi 
nate,  checking  and  balancing  each  other,  like  the  three  cardinal  departments  in 
the  individual  States :  each  equally  supreme  as  to  the  powers  delegated  to  it 
self,  and  neither  authorized  ultimately  to  decide  what  belongs  to  itself,  or  to  its 
coparcener  in  government.  As  independent,  in  fact,  as  different  nations,  a 
spirit  of  forbearance  and  compromise,  therefore,  and  not  of  encroachment  and 
usurpation,  is  the  healing  balm  of  such  a  constitution  ;  and  each  party  should 
prudently  shrink  from  all  approach  to  the  line  of  demarcation,  instead  of  rashly 
overleaping  it,  or  throwing  grapples  ahead  to  haul  to  hereafter.  But,  finally, 
the  peculiar  happiness  of  our  blessed  system  is,  that  in  differences  of  opinion 
between  these  different  sets  of  servants,  the  appeal  is  to  neither,  but  to  their 
employers  peaceably  assembled  by  their  representatives  in  Convention.  This  is 
more  rational  than  the  jus  fortioris,  or  the  cannon's  mouth,  the  ultima  et  sola 
ratio  regum" 


be  the  strongest.  It  would  do  some  good  if  it  would  obliterate 
the  geographical  division  which  threatened  and  still  threatens 
our  separation.  This  last  is  a  most  fatal  of  all  divisions  as  no 
minority  will  submit  to  be  governed  by  a  majority  acting  merely 
on  a  geographical  principle.  It  has  ever  been  my  creed  that 
the  continuance  of  our  union  depends  entirely  on  Pennsylve  & 
Virginia,  if  they  hold  together  nothing  North  or  South  will  fly  off. 
I  firmly  believe  all  the  governments  of  Europe  will  become  rep 
resentative.  The  very  troops  sent  to  quell  the  spirit  of  reformn. 
in  Naples  will  catch  the  fever  &  carry  it  back  to  their  own 
country.  We  owe  to  all  mankind  the  sacrifice  of  those  morbid 
passions  which  would  break  our  confederacy,  the  only  anchor 
to  which  the  hopes  of  the  world  are  moored.  Our  thoughts  and 
conversations  are  often  turned  to  Mrs.  Smith  &  yourself,  and 
always  affectionately.  In  these  sentiments  the  family  now  joins 
me,  and  in  tendering  to  you  our  affectionate  souvenirs. 


MONTICELLO,  August  17,  l82I. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  8th  came  to  hand  yesterday 
evening.  I  hope  you  will  never  suppose  your  letters  to  be  among 
those  which  are  troublesome  to  me.  They  are  always  welcome, 
and  it  is  among  my  great  comforts  to  hear  from  my  ancient  col 
leagues,  and  to  know  that  they  are  well.  The  affectionate  recol 
lection  of  Mrs.  Dearborne,  cherished  by  our  family,  will  ever 
render  her  health  and  happiness  interesting  to  them.  You  are 
so  far  astern  of  Mr.  Adams  and  myself,  that  you  must  not  yet  talk 
of  old  age.  I  am  happy  to  hear  of  his  good  health.  I  think  he 
will  outlive  us  all,  I  mean  the  Declaration-men,  although  our 
senior  since  the  death  of  Colonel  Floyd.  It  is  a  race  in  which  I 
have  no  ambition  to  win.  Man,  like  the  fruit  he  eats,  has  his 
period  of  ripeness.  Like  that,  too,  if  he  continues  longer  hang 
ing  to  the  stem,  it  is  but  an  useless  and  unsightly  appendage.  I 
rejoice  with  you  that  the  State  of  Missouri  is  at  length  a  member 
of  our  Union.  Whether  the  question  it  excited  is  dead,  or  only 
sleepeth,  I  do  not  know.  I  see  only  that  it  has  given  resurrec- 

i92  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1821 

tion  to  the  Hartford  convention  men.  They  have  had  the  ad 
dress,  by  playing  on  the  honest  feelings  of  our  former  friends,  to 
seduce  them  from  their  kindred  spirits,  and  to  borrow  their  weight 
into  the  federal  scale.  Desperate  of  regaining  power  under  po 
litical  distinctions,  they  have  adroitly  wriggled  into  its  seat  under 
the  auspices  of  morality,  and  are  again  in  the  ascendency  from 
which  their  sins  had  hurled  them.  It  is  indeed  of  little  con 
sequence  who  governs  us,  if  they  sincerely  and  zealously  cherish 
the  principles  of  union  and  republicanism. 

I  still  believe  that  the  Western  extension  of  our  confederacy 
will  ensure  its  duration,  by  overruling  local  factions,  which  might 
shake  a  smaller  association.  But  whatever  may  be  the  merit  or 
demerit  of  that  acquisition,  I  divide  it  with  my  colleagues,  to 
whose  counsels  I  was  indebted  for  a  course  of  administration 
which,  notwithstanding  this  late  coalition  of  clay  and  brass,  will, 
I  hope,  continue  to  receive  the  approbation  of  our  country. 

The  portrait  by  Stewart  was  received  in  due  time  and  good 
order,  and  claims,  for  this  difficult  acquisition,  the  thanks  of  the 
family,  who  join  me  in  affectionate  souvenirs  of  Mrs.  Dearborne 
and  yourself.  My  particular  salutations  to  both  flow,  as  ever, 
from  the  heart,  continual  and  warm. 


MONTICELLO,    Aug.  IQ.  21. 

DEAR  SIR, — You  have  probably  seen  in  the  newspapers  a  letter 
of  mine  recommending  Colo.  Taylor's  book  to  the  notice  of  our 
fellow-citizens.  I  am  pelted  for  it  in  print,  and  in  letters,  also 
complaining  of  the  unfair  use  made  of  it  by  certain  commentators. 
For  this  misuse  I  cannot  be  responsible.  But  I  inclose  to  you 
my  answer  to  one  of  these  letters  and  place  it  in  your  hands  as  the 
Depository  of  old  &  sound  principles  and  as  a  record  of  my  pro 
test  against  this  parricide  tribunal.  There  are  two  measures 
which  if  not  taken,  we  are  undone,  ist.  to  check  these  uncon 
stitutional  invasions  of  state  rights  by  the  federal  judiciary.  How  ? 
not  by  impeachment  in  the  first  instance,  but  by  a  strong  protesta 
tion  of  both  houses  of  Congress  that  such  and  such  doctrines, 

1821]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  193 

advanced  by  the  supreme  court,  are  contrary  to  the  constitution  : 
and  if  afterwards  they  relapse  into  the  same  heresies,  impeach 
and  set  the  whole  adrift.  For  what  was  the  government  di 
vided  into  three  branches,  but  that  each  should  watch  over  the 
others,  and  oppose  their  usurpations  ?  2.  To  cease  borrowing 
money  &  to  pay  off  the  national  debt.  If  this  cannot  be  done 
without  dismissing  the  army  &  putting  the  ships  out  of  commis 
sion,  haul  them  up  high  and  dry,  and  reduce  the  army  to  the  low 
est  point  at  which  it  was  ever  established.  There  does  not  exist 
an  engine  so  corruptive  of  the  government  and  so  demoralizing 
of  the  nation  as  a  public  debt.  It  will  bring  on  us  more  ruin  at 
home  than  all  the  enemies  from  abroad  against  whom  this  army 
and  navy  are  to  protect  us.  What  interest  have  we  in  keeping 
ships  in  service  in  the  Pacific  Ocean  ?  To  protect  a  few  specula 
tive  adventurers  in  a  commerce  dealing  in  nothing  in  which  we 
have  an  interest.  As  if  the  Atlantic  &  Mediterranean  were  not 
large  enough  for  American  capital  !  As  if  commerce  and  not 
agriculture  was  the  principle  of  our  association  !  God  bless  you 
&  long  continue  your  wholesome  influence  in  the  public  councils.1 
1  In  reply  to  a  question  from  Macon  concerning  this  letter,  Jefferson  wrote  to 

BUCKSPRING,  Oct.  20,  '21. 

Absence  at  an  occasional  but  distant  residence  prevented  my  receiving 
your  friendly  letter  of  Oct.  20.  till  3.  d.  ago.  A  line  from  good  old  friends  is 
like  balm  to  my  soul.  You  ask  me  what  you  are  to  do  with  my  letter  of  Sep. 
19.  I  wrote  it,  my  dear  Sir,  with  no  other  view  than  to  pour  my  thoughts  into 
your  bosom.  I  knew  they  would  be  safe  there,  and  I  believed  they  would  be 
welcome,  but  if  you  think,  as  you  say,  that  "  good  would  be  done  by  shewing  it 
to  a  few  well  tried  friends  "  I  have  no  objectn  to  that.  But  ultimately  you  can 
not  do  better  than  to  throw  it  into  the  fire.  My  confidence,  as  you  kindly  ob 
served,  has  been  often  abused  by  the  publication  of  my  Itres  for  the  purposes  of 
interest  or  vanity  ;  and  it  has  been  to  me  the  source  of  much  pain  to  be  exhib 
ited  before  the  public  in  forms  not  meant  for  them.  I  receive  Ires  expressed  in 
the  most  frdly  &  even  affectionate  terms,  sometimes  perhaps  asking  my  opn  on 
some  subject.  I  cannot  refuse  to  answer  such  letters,  nor  can  I  do  it  dryly  & 
suspiciously.  Among  a  score  or  two  'of  such  correspdts,  one  perhaps  betrays 
me.  I  feel  it  mortifyingly,  but  conclude  I  had  better  incur  one  treachery  than 
offend  a  score  or  two  of  good  people.  I  sometimes  expressly  desire  that  my 
letters  may  not  be  publd,  but  this  is  so  like  requesting  a  man  not  to  steal  or 
cheat  that  I  am  ashamed  of  it  after  I  have  done  it. 

Our  govmt  is  now  taking  so  steady  a  course  as  to  shew  by  what  road  it  will 

pass   to  destruction,  to  wit,    by  consolidn  first,  &   then  corruption,  it's  neces- 
VOL.  x.— 13 

194  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1821 


MONTICELLO,  Sep.  16.  21. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  no  doubt  you  have  occasionally  been  led  to 
reflect  on  the  character  of  the  duty  imposed  by  Congress  on  the 
importation  of  books.  Some  few  years  ago,  when  the  tariff  was 
before  Congress,  I  engaged  some  of  our  members  of  Congress  to 
endeavour  to  get  the  duty  repealed  and  wrote  on  the  subject  to 
some  other  acquaintances  in  Congress,  and  pressingly  to  the  Sec 
retary  of  the  treasury.  The  effort  was  made  by  some  members 
with  zeal  and  earnestness,  but  it  failed.  The  northern  colleges 
are  now  proposing  to  make  a  combined  effort  for  that  purpose  as 
you  will  see  by  the  inclosed  extract  of  a  letter  from  Mr.  Ticknor 
asking  the  co-operation  of  the  Southern  and  Western  institutions, 
&  of  our  university  particularly.  Mr.  Ticknor  goes  so  ably  into 
all  the  considerations  justifying  this  step,  that  nothing  need  be 
added  here,  &  especially  to  you  ;  and  we  have  only  to  answer  his 
questions,  whether  we  think  with  them  on  the  subject  of  the  tax  ? 
What  should  be  the  extent  of  the  relaxation  solicited?  What 
mode  of  proceeding  we  think  best  ?  And  whether  we  will  co 
operate  in  our  visitatorial  character  ?  I  must  earnestly  request 
your  thoughts  on  these  questions,  fearful  of  answering  them  unad 
visedly,  and  on  my  own  opinions  alone. 

I  think  that  another  measure,  auxiliary  to  that  of  petitioning 
might  be  employed  with  great  effect.  That  is  for  the  several  in 
stitutions,  in  their  corporate  capacities,  to  address  letters  to  their 
representatives  in  both  houses  of  Congress,  recommending  the 
proposition  to  their  advocation.  Such  a  recommendation  would 
certainly  be  respected,  and  might  excite  to  activity  those  who 

sary  consequence.  The  engine  of  consolidn  will  be  the  Fedl  judiciary,  the  two 
other  branches  the  corrupted  &  corrupting  instruments.  I  fear  an  explosion  in 
our  state  legislature.  I  wish  they  may  confine  themselves  to  a  strong  but  pacific 
temper.  Protestn  Virge  is  not  at  present  in  favr  with  her  co-states.  An  opposn 
headed  by  her  would  determine  all  the  anti-Missouri  states  to  take  the  contrary 
side.  She  had  better  lie  by  therefore  until  the  shoe  shall  pinch  an  Eastern 
state.  Let  the  cry  be  first  raised  from  that  quarter  &  we  may  fall  into  it  with 
effect.  But  I  fear  our  Eastern  associates  wish  for  consolidn,  in  which  they 
would  be  joined  by  the  smaller  states  generally,  but  with  a  foot  in  the  grave 
I  have  no  right  to  meddle  with  these  things.  Ever  &  affectly. 

i82i]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  195 

might  otherwise  be  indifferent  and  inactive  and  in  this  way  a  great 
vote,  perhaps  a  majority  might  be  obtained.  There  is  a  consider 
ation  going  to  the  injustice  of  the  tax  which  might  be  added  to 
those  noticed  by  Mr.  Ticknor.  Books  constitute  capital.  A 
library  book  lasts  as  long  as  a  house,  for  hundreds  of  years.  It 
is  not  then  an  article  of  mere  consumption  but  fairly  of  capital, 
and  often  in  the  case  of  professional  men,  setting  out  in  life  it  is 
their  only  capital.  Now  there  is  no  other  form  of  capital  which 
is  first  taxed  18.  per  cent  on  the  gross,  and  the  proprietor  then 
left  to  pay  the  same  taxes  in  detail  with  others  whose  capital  has 
paid  no  tax  on  the  gross.  Nor  is  there  a  description  of  men  less 
proper  to  be  singled  out  for  extra  taxation.  Mr.  Ticknor,  you 
observe,  asks  a  prompt  answer,  and  I  must  ask  it  from  you  for  the 
additional  reason  that  within  about  a  week,  I  set  out  for  Bedford 
to  remain  there  till  the  approach  of  winter.  Be  so  good  as  to 
return  me  also  the  inclosed  extract  and  be  assured  of  my  constant 
&  affectionate  friendship. 


MONTICELLO,  Dec.  8,  '21. 

It  would  give  me  infinite  pleasure,  dear  Madam, 
could  I  have  afforded  you  the  information  requested 
in  your  favor  of  the  27th  of  Nov.  respecting  the  sacri 
fices  of  property  to  the  relief  of  his  country  made  by 
the  virtuous  General  Nelson,  your  father,  while  in 
office  during  the  war  of  the  revolution.  I  retired 
from  the  administration  of  the  government  in  May 
1781.  Until  that  time  the  paper  money,  altho'  it  had 
been  gradually  depreciating  from  an  early  period,  yet 
served  the  purposes  of  obtaining  supplies,  and  was 
issued,  as  wanted,  by  the  legislature.  Consequently 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  Dr.  Thomas  Addis_Emmet  of  New 

196  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1821 

until  that  period  there  had  been  no  occasion  for  ad 
vances  of  money  in  aid  of  the  public,  by  any  private 
individual.  I  was  succeeded  as  governor  by  Genl. 
Nelson.  Within  his  period  the  credit  of  the  money 
went  rapidly  down  to  nothing,  and  ceased  to  be  offered 
or  received,  At  this  time  came  on  the  Northern  & 
French  armies,  and  to  enable  these  to  keep  the  field 
during  the  siege  of  York  was  probably  the  occasion 
which  led  the  General  to  take  on  himself  responsibili 
ties  for  which  the  public  credit  might  not  perhaps 
be  sufficient.  I  was  entirely  withdrawn  from  public 
affairs,  being  confined  at  home,  first  for  many  months 
by  a  severe  domestic  loss,  until  I  was  sent  to  Con 
gress  and  thence  to  Europe,  from  whence  I  did  not 
return  until  some  time  after  the  death  of  the  worthy 
General.  I  then  first  heard  mention  of  his  losses  by 
responsibilities  for  the  public  :  and  knowing  his  zeal, 
liberality  &  patriotism,  I  readily  credited  what  I  heard, 
altho'  I  knew  nothing  of  the  particulars  or  of  their 

It  would  have  been  a  matter  of  great  satisfaction 
to  me,  could  I  by  any  knowlege  of  facts  have  contrib 
uted  to  obtain  a  just  remuneration  and  relief  for  his 
family,  and  particularly  for  Mrs.  Nelson,  whose  singu 
lar  worth  and  goodness  I  have  intimately  known  now 
more  than  half  a  century  and  whose  name  revives  in 
my  mind  the  affectionate  recollections  of  my  youth. 
With  my  regrets  at  this  unprofitable  appeal,  be  so 
kind  as  to  tender  her  assurances  of  my  continued  and 
devoted  respect,  and  to  accept  yourself  those  of  my 
highest  esteem  and  regard. 

1821]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  197 

TO   THE    REV.    MR.    HATCH.1 

MONTICELLO,  Dec.  8.  21. 

DEAR  SIR, — In  the  antient  Feudal  times  of  our 
good  old  forefathers  when  the  Seigneur  married  his 
daughter,  or  knighted  his  son,  it  was  the  usage  for 
his  vassals  to  give  him  a  year's  rent  extra  in  the 
name  of  an  Aid.  I  think  it  as  reasonable  when  our 
Pastor  builds  a  house,  that  each  of  his  flock  should 
give  him  an  Aid  of  a  year's  contribution.  I  inclose 
mine  as  a  tribute  of  Justice,  which  of  itself  indeed  is 
nothing,  but  as  an  example,  if  followed,  may  become 
something.  In  any  event  be  pleased  to  accept  it  as 
an  offering  of  duty,  &  a  testimony  of  my  friendly  at 
tachment  and  high  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  Dec.  26.  21. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  learn  with  real  regret  from  your  favor  of  the 
loth  the  several  circumstances  which  have  deprived  me  of  the 
pleasure  of  seeing,  either  here  or  at  Poplar  Forest,  a  relation 
whom  I  have  long  been  taught  to  esteem,  altho  I  have  not  the 
advantage  of  his  personal  acquaintance.  I  must  find  my  conso 
lation  in  the  French  adage  that  'tout  ce  qui  est  differe  n'est  pas 
perdu,'  assuring  you  that  no  visit  will  be  received  with  more  wel 
come.  My  hope  too  of  a  reiteration  of  effort  is  strengthened  by 
the  presumed  additional  excitement  of  curiosity  to  see  our  Uni 
versity  ;  this  now  draws  to  it  numerous  visitors  from  every  part 
of  the  state  &  from  strangers  passing  thro  it.  I  can  assure  you 
there  is  no  building  in  the  US.  so  worthy  of  being  seen,  and 
which  gives  an  idea  so  adequate  of  what  is  to  be  seen  beyond 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  F.  G.  Burnham  of  Morristown, 
New  Jersey. 

198  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1821 

the  Atlantic.  There,  to  be  sure  they  have  immensely  larger  and 
more  costly  masses,  but  nothing  handsomer  or  in  chaster  style. 

The  balance  which  you  mention  as  coming  to  me  from  Ron 
ald's  executors  be  so  good  as  to  have  paid  into  the  hands  of 
Colo.  Bernard  Peyton  my  correspondent  in  Richmond. 

I  find  you  are  to  be  harassed  again  with  a  bankrupt  law. 
Could  you  not  compromise  between  agriculture  and  commerce 
by  passing  such  a  law  which  like  the  bye  laws  of  incorporate 
towns,  should  be  binding  on  the  inhabitants  of  such  towns  only, 
being  the  residence  of  commerce,  leaving  the  agriculturists,  in 
habitants  of  the  country,  in  undisturbed  possession  of  the  rights 
&  modes  of  proceedings  to  which  their  habits,  their  interests  and 
their  partialities  attach  them  ?  This  would  be  as  uniform  as 
other  laws  of  local  obligation. 

But  you  will  have  a  more  difficult  task  in  curbing  the  Judi 
ciary  in  their  enterprises  on  the  constitution.  I  doubt  whether 
the  erection  of  the  Senate  into  an  appellate  court  on  Constitu 
tional  questions  would  be  deemed  an  unexceptionable  reliance  ; 
because  it  would  enable  the  judiciary,  with  the  representatives 
in  Senate  of  one  third  only  of  our  citizens,  and  that  in  a  single 
house,  to  make  by  construction  what  they  should  please  of  the  con 
stitution,  and  thus  bind  in  a  double  knot  the  other  two  thirds,  for 
I  believe  that  one  third  of  our  citizens  chuse  a  majority  of  the 
Senate,  and  these  too  of  the  smaller  states  whose  interests  lead 
to  lessen  state  influence,  &  strengthen  that  of  the  general  gov 
ernment.  A  better  remedy  I  think,  and  indeed  the  best  I  can 
devise  would  be  to  give  future  commissions  to  judges  for  six 
years  (the  Senatorial  term)  with  a  re-appointmentability  by  the 
president  with  the  approbation  of  both  houses.  That  of  the  H. 
of  Repr.  imports  a  majority  of  citizens,  that  of  the  Senate  a  ma 
jority  of  states  and  that  of  both  a  majority  of  the  three  sovereign 
departments  of  the  existing  government,  to  wit,  of  it's  Execu 
tive  &  legislative  branches.  If  this  would  not  be  independance 
enough,  I  know  not  what  would  be  such,  short  of  the  total  irre 
sponsibility  under  which  we  are  acting  and  sinning  now.  The 
independance  of  the  judges  in  England  on  the  King  alone  is 
good  ;  but  even  there  they  are  not  independant  on  the  Parlia 
ment  ;  being  removable  on  the  joint  address  of  both  houses,  by 

i82i]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  199 

a  vote  of  a  majority  of  each,  but  we  require  a  majority  of  one 
house  and  2/3  of  the  other,  a  concurrence  which,  in  practice, 
has  been  and  ever  will  be  found  impossible  ;  for  the  judiciary 
perversions  of  the  constitution  will  forever  be  protected  under 
the  pretext  of  errors  of  judgment,  which  by  principle  are  ex 
empt  from  punishment.  Impeachment  therefore  is  a  bugbear 
which  they  fear  not  at  all.  But  they  would  be  under  some  awe  of 
the  canvas  of  their  conduct  which  would  be  open  to  both  houses 
regularly  every  6th  year.  It  is  a  misnomer  to  call  a  government 
republican,  in  which  a  branch  of  the  supreme  power  is  inde- 
pendant  of  the  nation.  By  this  change  of  tenure  a  remedy 
would  be  held  up  to  the  states,  which  altho'  very  distant,  would 
probably  keep  them  quiet.  In  aid  of  this  a  more  immediate  effect 
would  be  produced  by  a  joint  protestation  of  both  Houses  of 
Congress,  that  the  doctrines  of  the  judges  in  the  case  of  Cohens, 
adjudging  a  state  amenable  to  their  tribunal,  and  that  Congress 
can  authorize  a  corporation  of  the  district  of  Columbia  to  pass 
any  act  which  shall  have  the  force  of  law  within  a  state,  are  con 
trary  to  the  provisions  of  the  Constitution  of  the  US.  This 
would  be  effectual  ;  as  with  such  an  avowal  of  Congress,  no 
state  would  permit  such  a  sentence  to  be  carried  into  execution, 
within  it's  limits.  If,  by  the  distribution  of  the  sovereign  pow 
ers  among  three  branches,  they  were  intended  to  be  checks  on 
one  another,  the  present  case  calls  loudly  for  the  exercise  of  that 
duty,  and  such  a  counter  declaration,  while  proper  in  form, 
would  be  most  salutary  as  a  precedent. 

Another  most  condemnable  practice  of  the  supreme  court  to  be 
corrected  is  that  of  cooking  up  a  decision  in  Caucus  &  delivering 
it  by  one  of  their  members  as  the  opinion  of  the  court,  without 
the  possibility  of  our  knowing  how  many,  who,  and  for  what  rea 
sons  each  member  concurred.  This  compleatly  defeats  the  possi 
bility  of  impeachment  by  smothering  evidence.  A  regard  for 
character  in  each  being  now  the  only  hold  we  can  have  of  them, 
we  should  hold  fast  to  it.  They  would,  were  they  to  give  their 
opinions  seriatim  and  publicly,  endeavor  to  justify  themselves  to 
the  world  by  explaining  the  reasons  which  led  to  their  opinion. 
While  Edmd  Randolph  was  attorney  general,  he  was  charged  on 
a  particular  occasion  by  the  H.  of  R.  to  prepare  a  digest  and 

200  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1821 

some  amendments  to  the  judiciary  law.  One  of  the  amendments 
he  proposed  was  that  every  judge  should  give  his  individual  opin 
ion,  and  reasons  in  open  court,  which  opinions  and  reasons  should 
be  recorded  in  a  separate  book  to  be  published  occasionally  in 
the  nature  of  Reports.  Other  business  prevented  Congress  from 
acting  then  on  the  bill.  Such  a  provision  would  produce  valua 
ble  effect  and  emulation  in  forming  an  opinion  and  correctly 
reasoning  on  it ;  and  would  give  us  Reports,  unswelled  by  the 
arguments  of  counsel  and  within  the  compass  of  our  reading  and 
book  shelves.  But  these  things  belong  to  the  present  generation, 
who  are  to  live  under  them.  The  machine,  as  it  is,  will,  I  believe, 
last  my  time,  and  those  coming  after  will  know  how  to  repair  it  to 
their  own  minds.  I  cannot  help  sometimes  yielding  to  senile 
garrulity  on  matters  not  belonging  to  me,  yet  I  pray  not  to  be 
quoted,  but  pardoned  for  this  weakness  of  age.  With  my  prayers 
that  our  constitution  may  '  perpetuum  durare  per  aevum '  accept 
the  assurances  of  my  affectionate  esteem  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  Dec.  31.  21. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  inclosed  paper  was  handed  to  me  by  our  dear 
Martha  with  a  request  that  I  would  consider  it,  and  say  to  you 
what  I  think  of  it.  General  Taylor  has  certainly  stated  the  ob 
jections  to  Mr.  Hackley's  claim  so  fairly,  fully  and  powerfully, 
that  I  need  not  repeat  them,  observing  only  that  in  mentioning 
the  notice  which  Erving  had  of  the  negociation  with  Alagon,  he 
does  not  mention  Mr.  Hackley's  notice,  who  on  the  2pth  of  May 
1819  took  a  conveyance  from  Alagon  with  a  full  knolege  that  3. 
months  before,  the  US.  had  by  treaty  become  proprietors  of  the 
whole  province,  and  with  an  express  annulment  of  the  very  title 
he  was  purchasing.  This  is  more  than  a  set  off  against  the  im 
plied  notice  of  our  government  thro  Erving.  However  the  cir 
cumstance  of  notice,  duly  examined,  has  little  weight  in  the  case. 
The  effect  of  the  ratification  is  the  true  point,  &  that  on  which 
Genl.  Taylor  very  properly  rests  it,  and  on  which  it  will  turn.  On 
that  two  questions  will  arise. 

1821]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  201 

1.  Did  the  ratification  by  the  Cortes  extend  to  the  2d  &  3d 
articles  only  and  not  to  the  8th  and  it's  subsequent  explanations 
of  the  extent  of  these  articles  ?     If  we  are  to  decide  this  question 
for  ourselves  (doubting  the  judgment  of  our  government)  we 
should  have  the  act  of  the  Cortes  before  us,  to  examine  criti 
cally  it 's  precise  terms.     But  that  I  presume  we  have  not  ;  as 
Genl.  Taylor  seems  to  take  his  information  of  it  from  the  recital 
in  the  preamble  of    the  Spanish  ratification,  that  '  the  consent 
and  authority  of  the  general  Cortes  with  respect  to  the  occasion 
mentioned  and  stipulated  in  the  2d  and  3d  articles,  had  been  first 
obtained.'     May  not  this  mean  that  they  had  consented  to  all  the 
articles  which  respect  the  cession  mentioned  in  the  2d  and  3d  ? 
Is  it  a  necessary  inference  from  this  that  the  Cortes  had  not  con 
sented  to  any  other  article,  and  especially  the  8th  and  it 's  ex 
planations  which  respect  the  cession  mentioned  in  the  2d  and  3d, 
and  their  extent  ?    Which  is  most  probable,  that  the  Cortes  re 
fused  their  assent  to  that  article  ?  or  that  the  King  omitted  to 
communicate  it  to  them  ?  or  that,  altho'  the  fact  of  consent  might 
be  material,  it 's  mention  in  the  recital  being  unnecessary  &  super 
fluous,  might  be  neither  fully  nor  critically  made  ?      Again,  when 
we  consider  that  our  government  (informed  that  grants  had  been 
made  to  Alagon,  Punon  Rostro  &  de  Vargas,  subsequent  in  truth 
to  Jan.  24.  1 8.  but  antedated  fraudulently  to  bring  them  within 
the  treaty,  which  grants  covered  nearly  the  whole  country,  from 
the  boundary  of  the  US.  to  the  sea)  made  their  nullification  a 
sine  que  non  of  the  treaty,  that  they  pertinaciously  continued  to 
refuse  concluding  it  until  their  nullification  was  agreed  to,  can  we 
believe  they  did  conclude  without  knowing  that  the  ratification 
of  this  article  was  as  formal  and  firm  as  that  of  the  articles  it  re 
spected  and  explained  ?     Did  they  mean  to  deceive  their  country 
and  palm  upon  us  a  fallacious  instrument  ?  or  were  they  deceived 
themselves,  that  is  to  say,  the  President,  all  the  heads  of  depart 
ments,  the  Atty  General,  and  the  whole  Senate,  as  having  less 
knolege  than  we  have  of  what  was  a  valid  ratification  ?     I  confess 
that  these  considerations  have  weight  with  me  when  opposed  to 
the  opinion  of  Genl.  Taylor  as  to  the  validity  of  the  ratification. 

2.  But  a  second  question  may  be  made,  whether  the  ratifica 
tion  of  the  Cortes  was  necessary  ?    Whether  the  constitution  pro- 

202  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1821 

posed  by  them  for  the  colonies  had  authority  in  them  until 
accepted  in  each  colony  respectively  ?  The  inhabitants  of  the 
colonies  themselves,  our  government  and  our  nation,  certainly 
deny  that  it  could,  on  principle,  be  in  force  in  any  colony  without 
it's  consent ;  and  at  the  date  of  the  ratification,  not  a  single  colony 
had  accepted,  nor  do  I  know  that  a  single  one  has  done  it  to  this 
day.  I  think  myself  certain  that  the  Floridas  have  not.  The  old 
government  continued  in  them  to  the  day  of  their  surrender  ;  and 
under  the  old  government,  a  cession  of  territory  and  ratification 
by  the  king  was  conclusive.  Of  this  the  cession  of  the  same 
countries  by  the  king  to  England,  that  of  a  degree  of  latitude  of 
them  to  the  US.  and  that  of  Louisiana  to  France  are  sufficient 

It  is  with  real  reluctance  that  I  feel  or  express  any  doubts  ad 
verse  to  the  interests  of  Mr.  Hackley.  I  do  it  to  yourself  only, 
and  with  a  wish  not  to  be  quoted,  as  well  to  avoid  injury  to  him, 
as  the  implication  of  myself  in  anything  controversial.  I  am  far 
from  having  strong  confidence  in  doubts  of  what  two  such  able 
jurists  have  decided  ;  yet  for  Mr.  Hackley's  sake  I  anxiously  wish 
that  he  should  not  be  so  far  over-confident  in  the  certainty  of  these 
opinions  as  to  enter  into  any  warranties  of  title  in  the  portions  he 
may  dispose  of.  These  vast  grants  of  land  are  entirely  against  the 
policy  of  our  government.  They  have  ever  set  their  faces  most 
decidedly  against  such  monopolies.  In  all  their  sales  of  land  they 
have  taken  every  measure  they  could  devise  to  prevent  specula 
tions  in  them  by  purchases  to  sell  again,  &  to  provide  that  sales 
should  be  made  to  settlers  alone.  On  this  ground  Mr.  Hackley 
will  have  to  contend  against  prejudices  deeply  rooted.  These 
might  perhaps  be  somewhat  softened  if,  instead  of  taking  adverse 
possession,  which  the  President  is  bound  to  remove  summarily 
by  the  military,  he  were  to  make  to  Congress  a  full  and  candid 
statement  of  the  considerations  he  has  paid,  or  the  sacrifices 
made,  of  which  these  lands  are  the  compensation.  They  might 
in  that  case  make  him  such  a  grant  as  would  amount  to  a  liberal 

I  shall  ever  studiously  avoid  expressing  to  any  person  any 
doubt  which  might  injure  Mr.  Hackley's  prospects  from  this 
source,  and  sincerely  wish  him  the  most  can  be  made  of  them. 

1 822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  203 

I  renew   to   yourself  affectionate  assurances  of  attachment  and 


MONTO.  Jan.  7.  22. 

DR.  SIR, — I  see  with  much  concern  in  your  paper  of  the  3d  that 
they  are  endeavoring  to  compromit  me  on  the  subject  of  the  next 
President.  The  informn  said  to  come  from  a  gent,  from  Columbia 
is  totally  unfounded,  &  you  will  observe  that  the  Augusta  Chron 
icle  which  cited  me  as  giving  an  acct.  of  the  same  Caucus  says  not 
a  word  of  any  letter  from  me.  For  all  of  the  gentlemen  named  as 
subjects  of  the  future  election  I  have  the  highest  esteem  and 
should  much  regret  that  they  should  suppose  me  to  take  any  part 
in  it.  I  entirely  and  decidedly  withdraw  myself  from  all  inter 
meddling  in  matters  of  this  nature.  You  will  oblige  me  by  in 
serting  in  your  paper  some  such  contribution  as  below 1  in  a  form 
not  importing  to  come  directly  from  myself.  It  is  the  more  neces 
sary  as  you  seem  to  have  given  credit  to  it.  I  salute  you  with 
frdshp  &  resp. 


MONTICELLO,  March  6,  1822. 

SIR, — I  have  duly  received  your  letter  of  February  the  i6th, 
and  have  now  to  express  my  sense  of  the  honorable  station  pro 
posed  to  my  ex-brethren  and  myself,  in  the  constitution  of  the 
society  for  the  civilization  and  improvement  of  the  Indian  tribes. 
The  object  too,  expressed  as  that  of  the  association,  is  one  which 
I  have  ever  had  much  at  heart,  and  never  omitted  an  occasion 

1  "  In  our  paper  of  the  3d,  under  the  head  of  the  '  next  President '  we  quoted 
from  the  Petersbg  Intelligencer  the  information  of  a  Gentleman  from  Columbia 
S.  C.  mentioning  that  in  a  Caucus  of  members  assembled  there  for  the  nomin 
of  a  President  a  letter  was  read  from  Mr.  Jefferson  pointing  to  this  object.  We 
are  authorized  by  a  friend  of  Mr.  J's  much  in  his  society  &  intimacy  to  declare 
that  that  Gent,  never  wrote  such  a  letter,  never  put  pen  to  paper  on  that  sub 
ject,  and  studiously  avoids  all  conversn  on  it." 

204  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

of  promoting  while  I  have  been  in  situations  to  do  it  with  effect, 
and  nothing,  even  now,  in  the  calm  of  age  and  retirement,  would 
excite  in  me  a  more  lively  interest  than  an  approvable  plan  of 
raising  that  respectable  and  unfortunate  people  from  the  state  of 
physical  and  moral  abjection,  to  which  they  have  been  reduced 
by  circumstances  foreign  to  them.  That  the  plan  now  proposed 
is  entitled  to  unmixed  approbation,  I  am  not  prepared  to  say,  after 
mature  consideration,  and  with  all  the  partialities  which  its  pro 
fessed  object  would  rightfully  claim  from  me. 

I  shall  not  undertake  to  draw  the  line  of  demarcation  between 
private  associations  of  laudable  views  and  unimposing  numbers, 
and  those  whose  magnitude  may  rivalize  and  jeopardize  the 
march  of  regular  government.  Yet  such  a  line  does  exist.  I 
have  seen  the  days,  they  were  those  which  preceded  the  revolu 
tion,  when  even  this  last  and  perilous  engine  became  necessary  ; 
but  they  were  days  which  no  man  would  wish  to  see  a  second 
time.  That  was  the  case  where  the  regular  authorities  of  the 
government  had  combined  against  the  rights  of  the  people,  and 
no  means  of  correction  remained  to  them  but  to  organize  a  col 
lateral  power,  which,  with  their  support,  might  rescue  and  secure 
their  violated  rights.  But  such  is  not  the  case  with  our  govern 
ment.  We  need  hazard  no  collateral  power,  which,  by  a  change 
of  its  original  views,  and  assumption  of  others  we  know  not  how 
virtuous  or  how  mischievous,  would  be  ready  organized  and  in 
force  sufficient  to  shake  the  established  foundations  of  society, 
and  endanger  its  peace  and  the  principles  on  which  it  is  based. 
Is  not  the  machine  now  proposed  of  this  gigantic  stature  ?  It  is 
to  consist  of  the  ex-Presidents  of  the  United  States,  the  Vice 
President,  the  Heads  of  all  the  executive  departments,  the  mem 
bers  of  the  supreme  judiciary,  the  Governors  of  the  several  States 
and  territories,  all  the  members  of  both  Houses  of  Congress,  all 
the  general  officers  of  the  army,  the  commissioners  of  the  navy, 
all  Presidents  and  Professors  of  colleges  and  theological  semi 
naries,  all  the  clergy  of  the  United  States,  the  Presidents  and 
Secretaries  of  all  associations  having  relation  to  Indians,  all  com 
manding  officers  within  or  near  Indian  territories,  all  Indian 
superintendents  and  agents;  all  these  ex  officio ;  and  as  many 
private  individuals  as  will  pay  a  certain  price  for  membership. 

i8*2]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  205 

Observe,  too,  that  the  clergy  will  constitute '  nineteen  twentieths 
of  this  association,  and,  by  the  law  of  the  majority,  may  command 
the  twentieth  part,  which,  composed  of  all  the  high  authorities  of 
the  United  States,  civil  and  military,  may  be  outvoted  and  wielded 
by  the  nineteen  parts  with  uncontrollable  power,  both  as  to  pur 
pose  and  process.  Can  this  formidable  array  be  reviewed  with 
out  dismay  ?  It  will  be  said,  that  in  this  association  will  be  all 
the  confidential  officers  of  the  government  ;  the  choice  of  the 
people  themselves.  No  man  on  earth  has  more  implicit  confi 
dence  than  myself  in  the  integrity  and  discretion  of  this  chosen 
band  of  servants.  But  is  confidence  or  discretion,  or  is  strict 
limit,  the  principle  of  our  constitution  ?  It  will  comprehend,  in 
deed,  all  the  functionaries  of  the  government ;  but  seceded  from 
their  constitutional  stations  as  guardians  of  the  nation,  and  acting 
not  by  the  laws  of  their  station,  but  by  those  of  a  voluntary  soci 
ety,  having  no  limit  to  their  purposes  but  the  same  will  which 
constitutes  their  existence.  It  will  be  the  authorities  of  the  peo 
ple  and  all  influential  characters  from  among  them,  arrayed  on 
one  side,  and  on  the  other  the  people  themselves  deserted  by 
their  leaders.  It  is  a  fearful  array.  It  will  be  said  that  these  are 
imaginary  fears.  I  know  they  are  so  at  present.  I  know  it  is  as 
impossible  for  these  agents  of  our  choice  and  unbounded  confi 
dence,  to  harbor  machinations  against  the  adored  principles  of 
our  constitution,  as  for  gravity  to  change  its  direction,  and  gravid 
bodies  to  mount  upwards.  The  fears  are  indeed  imaginary,  but 
the  example  is  real.  Under  its  authority,  as  a  precedent,  future 
associations  will  arise  with  objects  at  which  we  should  shudder 
at  this  time.  The  society  of  Jacobins,  in  another  country,  was 
instituted  on  principles  and  views  as  virtuous  as  ever  kindled  the 
hearts  of  patriots.  It  was  the  pure  patriotism  of  their  purposes 
which  extended  their  association  to  the  limits  of  the  nation,  and 
rendered  their  power  within  it  boundless  ;  and  it  was  this  power 
which  degenerated  their  principles  and  practices  to  such  enor 
mities  as  never  before  could  have  been  imagined.  Yet  these 

1  The  clergy  of  the  United  States  may  probably  be  estimated  at  eight  thou 
sand.  The  residue  of  this  society  at  four  hundred  ;  but  if  the  former  number 
be  halved,  the  reasoning  will  be  the  same. —  T.  J. 

206  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

were  men,  and  we  and  our  descendants  will  be  no  more.  The 
present  is  a  case  where,  if  ever,  we  are  to  guard  against  ourselves; 
not  against  ourselves  as  we  are,  but  as  we  may  be  ;  for  who  can 
now  imagine  what  we  may  become  under  circumstances  not  now 
imaginable  ?  The  object  of  this  institution,  seems  to  require  so 
hazardous  an  example  as  little  as  any  which  could  be  proposed. 
The  government  is,  at  this  time,  going  on  with  the  process  of 
civilizing  the  Indians,  on  a  plan  probably  as  promising  as  any 
one  of  us  is  able  to  devise,  and  with  resources  more  competent 
than  we  could  expect  to  command  by  voluntary  taxation.  Is  it 
that  the  new  characters  called  into  association  with  those  of  the 
government,  are  wiser  than  these  ?  Is  it  that  a  plan  originated 
by  a  meeting  of  private  individuals  is  better  than  that  prepared 
by  the  concentrated  wisdom  of  the  nation,  of  men  not  self-chosen, 
but  clothed  with  the  full  confidence  of  the  people  ?  Is  it  that 
there  is  no  danger  that  a  new  authority,  marching,  independently, 
along  side  of  the  government,  in  the  same  line  and  to  the  same 
object,  may  not  produce  collision,  may  not  thwart  and  obstruct 
the  operations  of  the  government,  or  wrest  the  object  entirely 
from  their  hands  ?  Might  we  not  as  well  appoint  a  committee 
for  each  department  of  the  government,  to  counsel  and  direct  its 
head  separately,  as  volunteer  ourselves  to  counsel  and  direct  the 
whole,  in  mass  ?  And  might  we  not  do  it  as  well  for  their  foreign, 
their  fiscal,  and  their  military,  as  for  their  Indian  affairs  ?  And 
how  many  societies,  auxiliary  to  the  government,  may  we  expect 
to  see  spring  up,  in  imitation  of  this,  offering  to  associate  them 
selves  in  this  and  that  of  its  functions  ?  In  a  word,  why  not  take 
the  government  out  of  its  constitutional  hands,  associate  them 
indeed  with  us,  to  preserve  a  semblance  that  the  acts  are  theirs, 
but  insuring  them  to  be  our  own  by  allowing  them  a  minor  vote 
only  ? 

These  considerations  have  impressed  my  mind  with  a  force  so 
irresistible,  that  (in  duty  bound  to  answer  your  polite  letter,  with 
out  which  I  should  not  have  obtruded  an  opinion)  I  have  not  been 
able  to  withhold  the  expression  of  them.  Not  knowing  the  indi 
viduals  who  have  proposed  this  plan,  I  cannot  be  conceived  as 
entertaining  personal  disrespect  for  them.  On  the  contrary,  I  see 
in  the  printed  list  persons  for  whom  I  cherish  sentiments  of  sin- 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  207 

cere  friendship,  and  others,  for  whose  opinions  and  purity  of  pur 
pose  I  have  the  highest  respect.  Yet  thinking  as  I  do,  that  this 
association  is  unnecessary  ;  that  the  government  is  proceeding  to 
the  same  object  under  control  of  the  law  ;  that  they  are  compe 
tent  to  it  in  wisdom,  in  means,  and  inclination  ;  that  this  associa 
tion,  this  wheel  within  a  wheel,  is  more  likely  to  produce  collision 
than  aid  ;  and  that  it  is,  in  its  magnitude,  of  dangerous  example  ; 
I  am  bound  to  say,  that,  as  a  dutiful  citizen,  I  cannot  in  conscience 
become  a  member  of  this  society,  possessing  as  it  does  my  entire 
confidence  in  the  integrity  of  its  views.  I  feel  with  awe  the 
weight  of  opinion  to  which  I  may  be  opposed,  and  that,  for  my 
self,  I  have  need  to  ask  the  indulgence  of  a  belief  that  the  opinion 
I  have  given  is  the  best  result  I  can  deduce  from  my  own  reason 
and  experience,  and  that  it  is  sincerely  conscientious.  Repeating, 
therefore,  my  just  acknowledgments  for  the  honor  proposed  to 
me,  I  beg  leave  to  add  the  assurances  to  the  society  and  yourself 
of  my  highest  confidence  and  consideration.1 

1  Jefferson,  before  writing  this,  had  written  to  Madison  : 

MONTICELLO,    Feb.  25,  22. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  no  doubt  you  have  received,  as  I  have  done,  a  letter  from 
Dr.  Morse  with  a  printed  pamphlet,  proposing  to  us  a  place  in  a  self-constituted 
society  for  the  civilisation  of  the  Indian  &c.  I  am  anxious  to  know  your 
thoughts  on  the  subject  because  they  would  affect  my  confidence  in  my  own. 
I  disapprove  the  proposition  altogether.  I  acknolege  the  right  of  voluntary  as 
sociations  for  laudable  purposes  and  in  moderate  numbers.  I  acknolege  too  the 
expediency,  for  revolutionary  purposes,  of  general  associations,  coextensive  with 
the  nation.  But  where,  as  in  our  case,  no  abuses  call  for  revolution,  voluntary 
associations  so  extensive  as  to  grapple  with  &  controul  the  government,  should 
such  be  or  become  their  purpose,  are  dangerous  machines,  and  should  be  frowned 
down  in  every  regulated  government.  Here  is  one  proposed  to  comprehend  all 
the  functionaries  of  the  government  executive,  legislative  &  Judiciary,  all  officers 
of  the  army  or  navy,  governors  of  the  states,  learned  institutions,  the  whole 
body  of  the  clergy  who  will  be  19/20  of  the  whole  association,  and  as  many  other 
individuals  as  can  be  enlisted  for  5.  D.  apiece.  For  what  object?  One  which 
the  government  is  pursuing  with  superior  means,  superior  wisdom,  and  under 
limits  of  legal  prescription.  And  by  whom  ?  A  half  dozen  or  dozen  private 
individuals,  of  whom  we  know  neither  the  number  nor  names,  except  of  Elias 
B.  Caldwell  their  foreman,  Jedediah  Morse  of  Ocean  memory  their  present  Sec 
retary  &  in  petto  their  future  agent,  &c.  These  clubbists  of  Washington,  who 
from  their  residence  there  will  be  the  real  society,  have  undertaken  to  embody 
even  the  government  itself  into  an  instrument  to  be  wielded  by  themselves  and 

2o8  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 


MONTICELLO,  May  13,  1822. 

MESSRS.  RITCHIE  AND  GOOCH, — I  am  thankful  to  you  for  the 
paper  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me,  containing  the  ar 
raignment  of  the  Presidents  of  the  United  States  generally,  as 
peculators  or  accessories  to  peculation,  by  an  informer  who 
masks  himself  under  the  signature  of  "a  Native  Virginian." 

for  purposes  directed  by  themselves.  Observe  that  they  omit  the  President's 
name,  and  for  reasons  too  flimsy  to  be  the  true  ones.  No  doubt  they  have  pro 
posed  it  to  him,  and  his  prudence  has  refused  his  name.  And  shall  we  suffer 
ourselves  to  be  constituted  into  tools  by  such  an  authority  ?  Who,  after  this 
example,  may  not  impress  us  into  their  purposes  ?  Feeling  that  the  association 
is  unnecessary,  presumptuous  &  of  dangerous  example,  my  present  impression  is 
to  decline  membership,  to  give  my  reasons  for  it,  in  terms  of  respect,  but  with 
frankness,  but  as  the  answer  is  not  pressing,  I  suspend  it  until  I  can  hear  from 
you  in  the  hope  you  will  exchange  thoughts  with  me,  that  I  may  shape  my  an 
swer  as  much  in  conformity  with  yours  as  coincidence  in  our  views  of  the  subject 
may  admit :  and  I  will  pray  to  hear  from  you  by  the  first  mail.  Ever  &  affec 
tionately  yours. 

He  also  wrote  to  Monroe  : 

MONTICELLO,  Mar.  19.  22. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  Mar.  14.  has  been  duly  received.  In  that  you  ask 
if  my  letter  to  Mr.  Morse  may  be  communicated  to  the  gentlemen  of  the  admin 
istration  and  other  friends.  In  the  first  place  the  former  are  entitled  to  it's 
communication  from  Mr.  Morse  as  named  members  of  his  society.  But  inde- 
pendantly  of  that,  a  letter  addressed  to  a  society  of  6.  or  8000  people  is  de  facto 
made  public.  I  had  supposed  it  possible  indeed  that  the  society  or  some  of  it's 
members  might  perhaps  publish  it  as  the  only  practicable  means  of  communicat 
ing  it  to  so  extensive  an  association.  This  would  be  best,  because  Mr.  Morse 
might  otherwise  consider  it  as  done  by  myself,  and  that  it  was  a  gauntlet  thrown 
down  to  challenge  him  into  the  Arena  of  the  public  papers  ;  and  should  he  take 
it  up,  I  should  certainly  prove  a  recreant  knight,  and  never  meet  him  in  that 
field.  But  do  in  this  whatever  you  please.  I  abandon  the  letter  to  any  good  it 
may  answer.  With  respect  to  Spanish  America  I  think  you  have  taken  the  exact 
point  of  time  for  recognizing  it's  independance,  neither  sooner  nor  later.  I  give 
whatever  credit  they  merit  to  those  who  are  glorifying  themselves  on  their  pre 
mature  advice  to  have  done  it  3.  or  4.  years  ago.  We  have  preserved  the  appro 
bation  of  nations,  and  yet  taken  the  station  we  were  entitled  to  of  being  the  first 
to  receive  &  welcome  them  as  brothers  into  the  family  of  nations.  Affectionate 
&  respectful  salutations. 

1 82 2]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  209 

What  relates  to  myself  in  this  paper,  (being  his  No.  VI.,  and  the 
only  No.  I  have  seen,)  I  had  before  read  in  the  "  Federal  Repub 
lican  "  of  Baltimore,  of  August  28th,  which  was  sent  to  me  by  a 
friend,  with  the  real  name  of  the  author.  It  was  published  there 
during  the  ferment  of  a  warmly-contested  election.  I  considered 
it,  therefore,  as  an  electioneering  manoeuvre  merely,  and  did  not 
even  think  it  required  the  trouble  of  recollecting,  after  a  lapse 
of  thirty-three  years,  the  circumstances  of  the  case  in  which  he 
charges  me  with  having  purloined  from  the  treasury  of  the  United 
States  the  sum  of  $1,148.  But  as  he  has  thought  it  worth  repeat 
ing  in  his  Roll  of  informations  against  your  Presidents  nominally, 
I  shall  give  the  truths  of  the  case,  which  he  has  omitted,  perhaps 
because  he  did  not  know  them,  and  ventured  too  inconsiderately 
to  supply  them  from  his  own  conjectures. 

On  the  return  from  my  mission  to  France,  and  joining  the 
government  here,  in  the  spring  of  1790,  I  had  a  long  and  heavy 
account  to  settle  with  the  United  States,  of  the  administration  of 
their  pecuniary  affairs  in  Europe,  of  which  the  superintendence 
had  been  confided  to  me  while  there.  I  gave  in  my  account  early, 
but  the  pressure  of  other  business  did  not  permit  the  accounting 
officers  to  attend  to  it  till  October  xoth,  1792,  when  we  settled, 
and  a  balance  of  $888  67  appearing  to  be  due  from  me,  (but  erro 
neously  as  will  be  shown,)  I  paid  the  money  the  same  day,  deliv 
ered  up  my  vouchers,  and  received  a  certificate  of  it.  But  still 
the  articles  of  my  draughts  on  the  bankers  could  be  only  provision 
ally  past ;  until  their  accounts  also  should  be  received  to  be  con 
fronted  with  mine.  And  it  was  not  till  the  24th  of  June,  1804, 
that  I  received  a  letter  from  Mr.  Richard  Harrison  the  auditor, 
informing  me  "  that  my  accounts,  as  Minister  to  France,  had  been 
adjusted  and  closed,"  adding,  "  the  bill  drawn  and  credited  by  you 
under  date  of  the  2ist  of  October,  1789,  for  banco  florins  2,800, 
having  never  yet  appeared  in  any  account  of  the  Dutch  bankers, 
stand  at  your  debit  only  as  a  provisional  charge.  If  it  should 
hereafter  turn  out,  as  I  incline  to  think  it  will,  that  this  bill  has 
never  been  negotiated  or  used  by  Mr.  Grand,  you  will  have  a  just 
claim  on  the  public  for  its  value."  This  was  the  first  intimation 
to  me  that  I  had  too  hastily  charged  myself  with  that  draught.  I 
determined,  however,  as  I  had  allowed  it  in  my  account,  and  paid 

VOL.  X. — 14 

210  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

up  the  balance  it  had  produced  against  me,  to  let  it  remain  awhile, 
as  there  was  a  possibility  that  the  draught  might  still  be  presented 
by  the  holder  to  the  bankers  ;  and  so  it  remained  till  I  was  near 
leaving  Washington,  on  my  final  retirement  from  the  administra 
tion  in  1809.  I  then  received  from  the  auditor,  Mr.  Harrison, 
the  following  note  :  "  Mr.  Jefferson,  in  his  accounts  as  late  Minis 
ter  to  France,  credited  among  other  sums,  a  bill  drawn  by  him 
on  the  2ist  October,  1789,  to  the  order  of  Grand  &  Co.,  on  the 
bankers  of  the  United  States  at  Amsterdam,  f.  Banco  f.  2,800, 
equal  with  agio  to  current  florins  2,870,  and  which  was  charged  to 
him  provisionally  in  the  official  statement  made  at  the  Treasury,  in 
the  month  of  October,  1804.  But  as  this  bill  has  not  yet  been 
noticed  in  any  account  rendered  by  the  bankers,  the  presumption 
is  strong  that  it  was  never  negotiated  or  presented  for  payment, 
and  Mr.  Jefferson,  therefore,  appears  justly  entitled  to  receive  the 
value  of  it,  which,  at  forty  cents  the  gilder,  (the  rate  at  which  it 
was  estimated  in  the  above-mentioned  statement,)  amounts  to 
$1,148.  Auditor's  office,  January  24th,  1809." 

Desirous  of  leaving  nothing  unsettled  behind  me,  I  drew  the 
money  from  the  treasury,  but  without  any  interest,  although  I  had 
let  it  lie  there  twenty  years,  and  had  actually  on  that  error  paid 
$888  67,  an  apparent  balance  against  me,  when  the  true  balance 
was  in  my  favor  $259  33.  The  question  then  is,  how  has  this 
happened  ?  I  have  examined  minutely,  and  can  state  it  clearly. 

Turning  to  my  pocket  diary  I  find  that  on  the  2ist  day  of  Oc 
tober,  1789,  the  date  of  this  bill,  I  was  at  Cowes  in  England,  on 
my  return  to  the  United  States.  The  entry  in  my  diary  is  in 
these  words  :  "  1789,  October  2ist.  Sent  to  Grand  &  Co.,  letter 
of  credit  on  Willinks,  Van  Staphorsts  and  Hubbard,  for  2,800 
florins  Banco."  And  I  immediately  credited  it  in  my  account 
with  the  United  States  in  the  following  words  :  "  1789,  October 
21.  By  my  bill  on  Willinks,  Van  Staphorsts  and  Hubbard,  in 
favor  of  Grand  &  Co.,  for  2,800  florins,  equal  to  6,230  livres  18 
sous."  My  account  having  been  kept  in  livres  and  sous  of  France, 
the  auditor  settled  this  sum  at  the  current  exchange,  making  it 
$1,148.  This  bill,  drawn  at  Cowes  in  England,  had  to  pass 
through  London  to  Paris  by  the  English  and  French  mails,  in 
which  passage  it  was  lost,  by  some  unknown  accident,  to  which 

1 82 2]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  211 

it  was  the  more  exposed  in  the  French  mail,  by  the  confusion 
then  prevailing  ;  for  it  was  exactly  at  the  time  that  martial  law  was 
proclaimed  at  Paris,  the  country  all  up  in  arms,  and  executions  by 
the  mobs  were  daily  perpetrating  through  town  and  country. 
However  this  may  have  been,  the  bill  never  got  to  the  hands  of 
Grand  &  Co.,  was  never,  of  course,  forwarded  by  them  to  the 
bankers  of  Amsterdam,  nor  anything  more  ever  heard  of  it.  The 
auditor's  first  conjecture  then  was  the  true  one,  that  it  never  was 
negotiated,  nor  therefore  charged  to  the  United  States  in  any  of 
the  bankers'  accounts.  I  have  now  under  my  eye  a  duplicate 
furnished  me  by  Grand  of  his  account  of  that  date  against  the 
United  States,  and  his  private  account  against  myself,  and  I  affirm 
that  he  has  not  noticed  this  bill  in  either  of  these  accounts,  and 
the  auditor  assures  us  the  Dutch  bankers  had  never  charged  it. 
The  sum  of  the  whole  then  is,  that  I  drew  a  bill  on  the  United 
States  bankers,  charged  myself  with  it  on  the  presumption  it 
would  be  paid,  that  it  never  was  paid  however,  either  by  the 
bankers  of  the  United  States,  or  anybody  else.  It  was  surely  just 
then  to  return  me  the  money  I  had  paid  for  it.  Yet  "  the  Native 
Virginian  "  thinks  that  this  act  of  receiving  back  the  money  I  had 
thus  through  error  overpaid,  "was  a  palpable  and  manifest  act  of 
moral  turpitude,  about  which  no  two  honest ',  impartial  men  can  possi 
bly  differ."  I  ascribe  these  hard  expressions  to  the  ardor  of  his 
zeal  for  the  public  good,  and  as  they  contain  neither  argument  nor 
proof,  I  pass  them  over  without  observation.  Indeed,  I  have  not 
been  in  the  habit  of  noticing  these  morbid  ejections  of  spleen 
either  with  or  without  the  names  of  those  venting  them.  But  I 
have  thought  it  a  duty  on  the  present  occasion  to  relieve  my  fel 
low  citizens  and  my  country  from  the  degradation  in  the  eyes  of 
the  world  to  which  this  informer  is  endeavoring  to  reduce  it  by 
representing  it  as  governed  hitherto  by  a  succession  of  swindlers 
and  peculators.  Nor  shall  I  notice  any  further  endeavors  to  prove 
or  to  palliate  this  palpable  misinformation.  I  am  too  old  and  inert 
to  undertake  minute  investigations  of  intricate  transactions  of  the 
last  century  ;  and  I  am  not  afraid  to  trust  to  the  justice  and  good 
sense  of  my  fellow-citizens  on  future,  as  on  former  attempts  to 
lessen  me  in  their  esteem. 

I  ask  of  you,  gentlemen,  the  insertion  of  this  letter  in  your  pa- 

212  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

per  ;  and  I  trust  that  the  printers  who  have  hazarded  the  publica 
tion  of  the  libel,  on  anonymous  authority,  will  think  that  of  the 
answer  a  moderate  retribution  of  the  wrong  to  which  they  have 
been  accessory.1 

1  Once  more  Jefferson  wrote  to  Ritchie  and  Gooch  : 

MONTICELLO,  June  10,  1822. 

MESSRS.  RITCHIE  AND  GOOCH, — In  my  letter  to  you  of  May  isth,  in  answer 
to  a  charge  by  a  person  signing  himself  "  A  Native  Virginian,"  that  on  a  bill 
drawn  by  me  for  a  sum  equivalent  to  $i,  148,  the  treasury  of  the  United  States 
had  made  double  payment,  I  supposed  I  had  done  as  much  as  would  be  required 
when  I  showed  they  had  only  returned  to  me  money  which  I  had  previously  paid 
into  the  treasury  on  the  presumption  that  such  a  bill  had  been  paid  for  me,  but 
that  this  bill  being  lost  or  destroyed  on  the  way,  had  never  been  presented,  con 
sequently  never  paid  by  the  United  States,  and  that  the  money  was  therefore 
returned  to  me.  This  being  too  plain  for  controversy,  the  pseudo  Native  of 
Virginia,  in  his  reply,  No.  32,  in  the  Federal  Republican  of  May  24th,  reduces 
himself  ultimately  to  the  ground  of  a  double  receipt  Q{  the  money  by  me,  first  on 
sale  or  negotiation  of  the  bill  in  Europe,  and  a  second  time  from  the  treasury. 
But  the  bill  was  never  sold  or  negotiated  anywhere.  It  was  not  drawn  to  raise 
money  in  the  market.  I  sold  it  to  nobody,  received  no  money  on  it,  but  en 
closed  it  to  Grand  &  Co.  for  some  purpose  of  account,  for  what  particular  pur 
pose  neither  my  memory,  after  a  lapse  of  thirty-three  years,  nor  my  papers 
enable  me  to  say.  Had  I  preserved  a  copy  of  my  letter  to  Grand  enclosing  the 
bill,  that  would  doubtless  have  explained  the  purpose.  But  it  was  drawn  on  the 
eve  of  my  embarkation  with  my  family  from  Cowes  for  America,  and  probably 
the  hurry  of  preparation  for  that  did  not  allow  me  time  to  take  a  copy.  I  pre 
sume  this  because  I  find  no  such  letter  among  my  papers.  Nor  does  any  sub 
sequent  correspondence  with  Grand  explain  it,  because  I  had  no  private 
account  with  him  ;  my  account  as  minister  being  kept  with  the  treasury  directly, 
so  that  he,  receiving  no  intimation  of  this  bill,  could  never  give  me  notice  of  its 
miscarriage.  But,  however  satisfactory  might  have  been  an  explanation  of  the 
purpose  of  the  bill,  it  is  unnecessary  at  least ;  the  material  fact  being  established 
that  it  never  got  to  hand,  nor  was  ever  paid  by  the  United  States. 

And  how  does  the  Native  Virginian  maintain  his  charge  that  I  received  the 
cash  when  I  drew  the  bill  ?  by  unceremoniously  inserting  into  the  entry  of  that 
article  in  my  account,  words  of  his  own,  making  me  say  in  direct  terms  that  I 
did  receive  the  cash  for  the  bill.  In  my  account  rendered  to  the  treasury,  it  is 
entered  in  these  words  :  "  1789,  Oct.  I.  By  my  bill  on  Willincks,  Van  Staphorsts 
&  Hubbard  in  favor  of  Grand  &  Co.  for  2,800  florins,  equal  to  6,230  livres  18 
sous  ;  "  but  he  quotes  it  as  stated  in  my  account  rendered  to  and  settled  at  the 
treasury,  and  yet  remaining,  as  it  is  to  be  presumed,  among  the  archives  of  that 
department,  "  By  cash  received  of  Grand  for  bill  on  Willincks,  &c."  Now  the 
words  "  cash  received  of  Grand"  constitute  "the  very  point,  the  pivot,  on 

1 82 2]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  213 


MONTICELLO,  June  i,  1822. 

It  is  very  long,  my  dear  Sir,  since  I  have  written 
to  you.  My  dislocated  wrist  is  now  become  so  stiff 
that  I  write  slow  and  with  pain,  and  therefore  write 
as  little  as  I  can.  Yet  it  is  due  to  mutual  friendship 
to  ask  once  in  awhile  how  we  do  ?  The  papers  tell 

which  the  matter  turns,"  as  himself  says,  and  not  finding,  he  has  furnished 
them.  Although  the  interpolation  of  them  is  sufficiently  refuted  by  the  fact 
that  Grand  was,  at  the  time,  in  France,  and  myself  in  England,  yet  wishing  that 
conviction  of  the  interpolation  should  be  founded  on  official  document,  I  wrote 
to  the  auditor,  Mr.  Harrison,  requesting  an  official  certificate  of  the  very  words 
in  which  that  article  stood  in  my  autograph  account  deposited  in  the  office.  I 
received  yesterday  his  answer  of  the  3d,  in  which  he  says,  "  I  am  unable  to  fur 
nish  the  extract  you  require,  as  the  original  account  rendered  by  you  of  your 
pecuniary  transactions  of  a  public  nature  in  Europe,  together  with  the  vouchers 
and  documents  connected  with  it,  were  all  destroyed  in  the  Register's  office  in 
the  memorable  conflagration  of  1814.  With  respect,  therefore,  to  the  sum  of 
$1,148  in  question,  I  can  only  say  that,  after  full  and  repeated  examinations,  I 
considered  you  as  most  righteously  and  justly  entitled  to  receive  it.  Otherwise, 
it  will,  I  trust,  be  believed  that  I  could  not  have  consented  to  the  re-payment." 
Considering  the  intimacy  which  the  Native  Virginian  shows  with  the  treasury 
affairs,  we  might  be  justified  in  suspecting  that  he  knew  this  fact  of  the  de 
struction  of  the  original  by  fire  when  he  ventured  to  misquote.  But  certainly 
we  may  call  on  him  to  say,  and  to  show,  from  what  original  he  copied  these 
words  :  "  cash  received  from  Grand  "  ?  I  say,  most  assuredly,  from  none,  for 
none  such  ever  existed.  Although  the  original  be  lost,  which  would  have  con 
victed  him  officially,  it  'happens  that  when  I  made  from  my  rough  draft  a  fair 
copy  of  my  account  for  the  treasury,  I  took  also,  with  a  copying-machine,  a 
press-copy  of  every  page,  which  I  kept  for  my  own  use.  It  is  known  that 
copies  by  this  well-known  machine  are  taken  by  impression  on  damp  paper  laid 
on  the  face  of  the  written  page  while  fresh,  and  passed  between  rollers  as  cop 
per  plates  are.  They  must  therefore  be  true  fac  similies.  This  press-copy  now 
lies  before  me,  has  been  shown  to  several  persons,  and  will  be  shown  to  as  many 
as  wish  or  are  willing  to  examine  it  ;  and  this  article  of  my  account  is  entered 
in  it  in  these  words  :  "  1789,  Oct.  i.  By  my  bill  on  Willincks,  Van  Staphorsts 
&  Hubbard  for  2,800  florins,  equal  to  6,230-livres  18  sous."  An  inspection  of 
the  account,  too,  shows  that  whenever  I  received  cash  for  a  bill,  it  is  uniformly 
entered  "  by  cash  received  of  such  an  one,  &c.  ;  "  but  where  a  bill  was  drawn 
to  constitute  an  item  of  account  only,  the  entry  is  "  by  my  bill  on,  &c."  Now 
to  these  very  words  "  cash  received  of  Grand,"  not  in  my  original  but  interpo- 

214  THE  WRITINGS   OF  [1822 

us  that  General  Starke  is  off  at  the  age  of  93.  Charles 
Thomson  still  lives  at  about  the  same  age,  cheerful, 
slender  as  a  grasshopper,  and  so  much  without  mem 
ory  that  he  scarcely  recognizes  the  members  of  his 
household.  An  intimate  friend  of  his  called  on  him 
not  long  since  ;  it  was  difficult  to  make  him  recollect 

lated  by  himself,  he  constantly  appeals  as~proofs  of  an  acknowledgment  under 
my  own  handth&t  I  received  the  cash.  In  proof  of  this,  I  must  request  patience 
to  read  the  following  quotations  from  his  denunciations  as  standing  in  the  Fed 
eral  Republican  of  May  24  : 

Page  2,  column  2,  1.  48  to  29  from  the  bottom,  "  he  [Mr.  J.]  admits  in  his 
account  rendered  in  1790  and  settled  in  1792,  that  he  had  received  the  '  cash' 
[placing  the  word  cash  between  inverted  commas  to  have  it  marked  particularly 
as  a  quotation]  that  he  had  received  the  '  cash  '  for  the  bill  in  question,  and  he 
does  not  directly  deny  it  now.  Will  he,  can  he,  in  the  face  of  his  own  declara 
tion  in  writing  to  the  contrary,  publicly  say  that  he  did  not  receive  the  money 
for  this  bill  in  Europe  ?  This  is  the  point  on  which  the  whole  matter  rests,  the 
pivot  on  which  the  arguments  turn.  If  he  did  receive  the  money  in  Europe, 
(no  matter  whether  at  Cowes  or  at  Paris,)  he  certainly  had  no  right  to  receive  it 
a  second  time  from  the  public  treasury  of  the  United  States.  This  is  admitted 
I  believe  on  all  sides.  Now,  that  he  did  receive  the  money  in  Europe  on  this 
bill,  is  proved  by  the  acknowledgment  of  the  receiver  himself,  who  credits  the 
amount  in  his  account  as  settled  at  the  treasury  thus :  '  cash  received  of  Grand 
for  bill  on  Willincks,  Van  Staphorsts,  2,876  gilders,  1,148  dollars.'" 

Col.  3,  1.  28  to  21  from  bottom.  "  There  is  a  plain  difference  in  the  phrase 
ology  of  the  account,  from  which  an  extract  is  given  by  Mr.  J.  as  above,  and 
that  which  he  rendered  to  the  Treasury.  In  the  former  he  gives  the  credit  thus, 
4  By  my  bills  on  Willincks,'  &c.  In  the  latter  he  states,  '  By  cash  received  of 
Grand  for  bill  on  Willincks,'  &c."  There  is  a  difference,  indeed,  as  he  states 
it,  but  it  is  made  solely  by  his  own  interpolation. 

Col.  3,  1.  8,  from  bottom.  "  That  Mr.  Jefferson  should;  in  the  very  teeth  of 
the  facts  of  the  evidence  before  us,  and  in  his  own  breast,  gravely  say  that  he 
had  paid  the  money  for  this  bill,  and  that  therefore  it  was  but  just  to  return  him 
the  amount  of  it,  when  he  had,  by  his  own  acknowledgment,  sent  it  to  Grand  & 
Co.,  and  received  the  money  for  it,  is,  I  confess,  not  only  matter  of  utter  aston 
ishment  but  regret."  I  spare  myself  the  qualifications  which  these  paragraphs 
may  merit,  leaving  them  to  be  applied  by  every  reader  according  to  the  feelings 
they  may  excite  in  his  own  breast. 

He  proceeds  :  "  And  now  to  place  this  case  beyond  the  reach  of  cavil  or 
doubt,  and  to  show  most  conclusively  that  he  had  negotiated  this  bill  in  Europe, 
and  received  the  cash  for  it  there,  and  that  such  was  the  understanding  of  the 
matter  at  the  treasury  in  1809,  when  he  received  the  money."  These  are  his 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  215 

who  he  was,  and,  sitting  one  hour,  he  told  him  the 
same  story  four  times  over.  Is  this  life  ? 

"  With  lab'ring  step 

To  tread  our  former  footsteps  ?  pace  the  round 
Eternal  ? — to  beat  and  beat 
The  beaten  track  ?  to  see  what  we  have  seen, 
To  taste  the  tasted  ?  o'er  our  palates  to  decant 
Another  vintage  ?  " 

It  is  at  most  but  the  life  of  a  cabbage  ;  surely  not 

own  words.  Col.  4,  he  brings  forward  the  overwhelming  fact  "  not  hitherto 
made  public  but  stated  from  the  most  creditable  and  authentic  source,  that  one 
of  the  accounting  officers  of  the  treasury  suggested  in  writing  the  propriety  of 
taking  bond  and  security  from  Mr.  J.,  for  indemnification  of  the  United  States 
against  any  future  claim  on  this  bill.  But  it  seems  the  bond  was  not  taken,  and 
the  government  is  now  liable  in  law,  and  in  good  faith  for  the  payment  of  this 
bill  to  the  rightful  owner."  How  this  suggestion  of  taking  bond  at  the  treasury, 
so  solemnly  paraded,  is  more  conclusive  proof  than  his  own  interpolation,  that 
the  cash  -was  received,  I  am  so  dull  as  not  to  perceive  ;  but  I  say,  that  had  the 
suggestion  been  made  to  me,  it  would  have  been  instantly  complied  with.  But 
I  deny  his  law.  Were  the  bill  now  to  be  presented  to  the  treasury,  the  answer 
would  and  should  be  the  same  as  a  merchant  would  give  :  "  You  have  held  up 
this  bill  three  and  thirty  years  without  notice  ;  we  have  settled  in  the  meantime 
with  the  drawer,  and  have  no  effects  of  his  left  in  our  hands.  Apply  to  him  for 
payment."  On  his  application  to  me,  I  should  first  inquire  into  the  history  of 
the  bill  ;  where  it  had  been  lurking  for  three  and  thirty  years  ?  how  came  he  by 
it?  by  interception  ?  by  trover?  by  assignment  from  Grand?  by  purchase?  from 
whom,  when  and  where  ?  And  according  to  his  answers  I  should  either  institute 
criminal  process  against  him,  or  if  he  showed  that  all  was  fair  and  honest,  I 
should  pay  him  the  money,  and  look  for  reimbursement  to  the  quarter  appearing 
liable.  The  law  deems  seven  years'  absence  of  a  man,  without  being  heard  of, 
such  presumptive  evidence  of  his  death,  as  to  distribute  his  estate,  and  to  allow 
his  wife  to  marry  again.  The  Auditor  thought  that  twenty  years  non-appear 
ance  of  a  bill  which  had  been  risked  through  the  post-offices  of  two  nations,  was 
sufficient  presumption  of  its  loss.  But  this  self-styled  native  of  Virginia  thinks 
that  the  thirty-three  years  now  elapsed  are  not  sufficient.  Be  it  so.  If  the 
accounting  officers  of  the  treasury  have  any  uneasiness  on  that  subject,  I  am 
ready  to  give  a  bond  of  indemnification  to  the  United  States  in  any  sum  the 
officers  will  name,  and  with  the  security  which  themselves  shall  approve.  Will 
this  satisfy  the  native  Virginian  ?  or  will  he  now  try  to  pick  some  other  hole  in 
this  transaction,  to  shield  himself  from  a  candid  acknowledgment,  that  in  making 
up  his  case,  he  supplied  by  gratuitous  conjectures,  the  facts  which  were  not 

216  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

worth  a  wish.  When  all  our  faculties  have  left,  or 
are  leaving  us,  one  by  one,  sight,  hearing,  memory, 
every  avenue  of  pleasing  sensation  is  closed,  and 
athumy,  debility  and  malaise  left  in  their  places,  when 
friends  of  our  youth  are  all  gone,  and  a  generation  is 
risen  around  us  whom  we  know  not,  is  death  an  evil  ? 

When  one  by  one  our  ties  are  torn, 

And  friend  from  friend  is  snatched  forlorn. 

When  man  is  left  alone  to  mourn,          , 

Oh  !  then  how  sweet  it  is  to  die  ! 
When  trembling  limbs  refuse  their  weight, 
And  films  slow  gathering  dim  the  sight, 
When  clouds  obscure  the  mental  light 

'T  is  nature's  kindest  boon  to  die  ! 

I  really  think  so.  I  have  ever  dreaded  a  doting  old 
age  ;  and  my  health  has  been  generally  so  good,  and 
is  now  so  good,  that  I  dread  it  still.  The  rapid  decline 
of  my  strength  during  the  last  winter  has  made  me 
hope  sometimes  that  I  see  land.  During  summer  I 
enjoy  its  temperature,  but  I  shudder  at  the  approach 
of  winter,  and  wish  I  could  sleep  through  it  with  the 
Dormouse,  and  only  wake  with  him  in  spring,  if  ever. 
They  say  that  Starke  could  walk  about  his  room.  I 
am  told  you  walk  well  and  firmly.  I  can  only  reach 
my  garden,  and  that  with  sensible  fatigue.  I  ride, 
however,  daily.  But  reading  is  my  delight.  I  should 

within  his  knowledge,  and  that  thus  he  has  sinned  against  truth  in  his  declara 
tions  before  the  public  ?  Be  this  as  it  may,  I  have  so  much  confidence  in  the 
discernment  and  candor  of  my  fellow-citizens,  as  to  leave  to  their  judgment,  and 
dismiss  from  my  own  notice  any  future  torture  of  words  or  circumstances  which 
this  writer  may  devise  for  their  deception.  Indeed,  could  such  a  denunciation, 
and  on  such  proof,  bereave  me  of  that  confidence  and  consolation,  I  should, 
through  the  remainder  of  life,  brood  over  the  afflicting  belief  that  I  had  lived 
and  labored  in  vain. 

1 822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  217 

wish  never  to  put  pen  to  paper  ;  and  the  more  because 
of  the  treacherous  practice  some  people  have  of  pub 
lishing  one's  letters  without  leave.  Lord  Mansfield 
declared  it  a  breach  of  trust,  and  punishable  at  law. 
I  think  it  should  be  a  penitentiary  felony  ;  yet  you 
will  have  seen  that  they  have  drawn  me  out  into  the 
arena  of  the  newspapers  ;  although  I  know  it  is  too 
late  for  me  to  buckle  on  the  armor  of  youth,  yet  my 
indignation  would  not  permit  me  passively  to  receive 
the  kick  of  an  ass. 

To  turn  to  the  news  of  the  day,  it  seems  that  the 
Cannibals  of  Europe  are  going  to  eating  one  another 
again.  A  war  between  Russia  and  Turkey  is  like  the 
battle  of  the  kite  and  snake.  Whichever  destroys 
the  other,  leaves  a  destroyer  the  less  for  the  world. 
This  pugnacious  humor  of  mankind  seems  to  be  the 
law  of  his  nature,  one  of  the  obstacles  to  too  great 
multiplication  provided  in  the  mechanism  of  the  Uni 
verse.  The  cocks  of  the  henyard  kill  one  another 
up.  Bears,  bulls,  rams,  do  the  same.  And  the  horse, 
in  his  wild  state,  kills  all  the  young  males,  until  worn 
down  with  age  and  war,  some  vigorous  youth  kills 
him,  and  takes  to  himself  the  Harem  of  females.  I 
hope  we  shall  prove  how  much  happier  for  man  the 
Quaker  policy  is,  and  that  the  life  of  the  feeder,  is 
better  than  that  of  the  fighter  ;  and  it  is  some  con 
solation  that  the  desolation  by  these  maniacs  of  one 
part  of  the  earth  is  the  means  of  improving  it  in  other 
parts.  Let  the  latter  be  our  office,  and  let  us  milk  the 
cow,  while  the  Russian  holds  her  by  the  horns,  and 
the  Turk  by  the  tail.  God  bless  you,  and  give  you 

2i8  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

health,  strength,  and  good  spirits,  and  as  much  of  life 
eis  you  think  worth  having.1 

1  In  reply  to  a  question  from  Adams,  Jefferson  further  wrote  : 

MONTICELLO,  June  27,  1822. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  kind  letter  of  the  nth  has  given  me  great  satisfaction. 
For  although  I  could  not  doubt  but  that  the  hand  of  age  was  pressing  heavily 
on  you,  as  on  myself,  yet  we  like  to  know  the  particulars  and  the  degree  of  that 
pressure.  Much  reflection,  too,  has  been  produced  by  your  suggestion  of  lend 
ing  my  letter  of  the  ist,  to  a  printer.  I  have  generally  great  aversion  to  the  in 
sertion  of  my  letters  in  the  public  papers  ;  because  of  my  passion  for  quiet 
retirement,  and  never  to  be  exhibited  in  scenes  on  the  public  stage.  Nor  am  I 
unmindful  of  the  precept  of  Horace,  "  solver e  senescentem,  mature  sanus 
eguum,  ne  peccet  ad  extremum  ridendus."  In  the  present  case,  however,  I  see 
a  possibility  that  this  might  aid  in  producing  the  very  quiet  after  which  I  pant. 
I  do  not  know  how  far  you  may  suffer,  as  I  do,  under  the  persecution  of  letters, 
of  which  every  mail  brings  a  fresh  load.  They  are  letters  of  inquiry,  for  the 
most  part,  always  of  good  will,  sometimes  from  friends  whom  I  esteem,  but 
much  oftener  from  persons  whose  names  are  unknown  to  me,  but  written 
kindly  and  civilly,  and  to  which,  therefore,  civility  requires  answers.  Perhaps, 
the  better  known  failure  of  your  hand  in  its  function  of  writing,  may  shield  you 
in  greater  degree  from  this  distress,  and  so  far  qualify  the  misfortune  of  its  dis 
ability.  I  happened  to  turn  to  my  letter-list  some  time  ago,  and  a  curiosity  was 
excited  to  count  those  received  in  a  single  year.  It  was  the  year  before  the 
last.  I  found  the  number  to  be  one  thousand  two  hundred  and  sixty-seven, 
many  of  them  requiring  answers  of  elaborate  research,  and  all  to  be  answered 
with  due  attention  and  consideration.  Take  an  average  of  this  number  for 
a  week  or  a  day,  and  I  will  repeat  the  question  suggested  by  other  considerations 
in  mine  of  the  ist.  Is  this  life?  At  best  it  is  but  the  life  of  a  mill-horse,  who 
sees  no  end  to  his  circle  but  in  death.  To  such  a  life,  that  of  a  cabbage  is  para 
dise.  It  occurs  then,  that  my  condition  of  existence,  truly  stated  in  that  letter, 
if  better  known,  might  check  the  kind  indiscretions  which  are  so  heavily  oppress 
ing  the  departing  hours  of  life.  Such  a  relief  would,  to  me,  be  an  ineffable 
blessing.  But  yours  of  the  nth,  equally  interesting  and  affecting,  should 
accompany  that  to  which  it  is  an  answer.  The  two,  taken  together,  would  excite 
a  joint  interest,  and  place  before  our  fellow-citizens  the  present  condition  of  two 
ancient  servants,  who  having  faithfully  performed  their  forty  or  fifty  campaigns, 
stipendiis  omnibus  expletis,  have  a  reasonable  claim  to  repose  from  all  disturb 
ance  in  the  sanctuary  of  invalids  and  superannuates.  But  some  device  should 
be  thought  of  for  their  getting  before  the  public  otherwise  than  by  our  own  pub 
lication.  Your  printer,  perhaps,  could  frame  something  plausible.  Thom 
son's  name  should  be  left  blank,  as  his  picture,  should  it  meet  his  eye,  might 
give  him  pain.  I  consign,  however,  the  whole  subject  to  your  consideration,  to 
do  in  it  whatever  your  own  judgment  shall  approve,  and  repeat  always,  with 
truth,  the  assurance  of  my  constant  and  affectionate  friendship  and  respect. 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  219 


MONTICELLO,  June  26,  1822. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  received  and  read  with  thankfulness  and 
pleasure  your  denunciation  of  the  abuses  of  tobacco  and  wine. 
Yet,  however  sound  in  its  principles,  I  expect  it  will  be  but  a  ser 
mon  to  the  wind.  You  will  find  it  as  difficult  to  inculcate  these 
sanative  precepts  on  the  sensualities  of  the  present  day,  as  to  con 
vince  an  Athanasian  that  there  is  but  one  God.  I  wish  success  to 
both  attempts,  and  am  happy  to  learn  from  you  that  the  latter,  at 
least,  is  making  progress,  and  the  more  rapidly  in  proportion  as 
our  Platonizing  Christians  make  more  stir  and  noise  about  it. 
The  doctrines  of  Jesus  are  simple,  and  tend  all  to  the  happiness 
of  man. 

1.  That  there  is  one  only  God,  and  he  all  perfect. 

2.  That  there  is  a  future  state  of  rewards  and  punishments. 

3.  That  to  love  God  with  all  thy  heart  and  thy  neighbor  as  thy 
self,  is  the  sum  of  religion.     These  are  the  great  points  on  which 
he  endeavored  to  reform  the  religion  of  the  Jews.     But  compare 
with  these  the  demoralizing  dogmas  of  Calvin. 

1.  That  there  are  three  Gods. 

2.  That  good  works,  or  the  love  of  our  neighbor,  are  nothing. 

3.  That  faith  is  every  thing,  and  the  more  incomprehensible  the 
proposition,  the  more  merit  in  its  faith. 

4.  That  reason  in  religion  is  of  unlawful  use. 

5.  That  God,  from  the  beginning,  elected  certain  individuals  to 
be  saved,  and  certain  others  to  be  damned  ;  and  that  no  crimes  of 
the  former  can  damn  them  ;  no  virtues  of  the  latter  save. 

Now,  which  of  these  is  the  true  and  charitable  Christian  ?  He 
who  believes  and  acts  on  the  simple  doctrines  of  Jesus  ?  Or  the 
impious  dogmatists,  as  Athanasius  and  Calvin  ?  Verily  I  say 
these  are  the  false  shepherds  foretold  as  to  enter  not  by  the  door 
into  the  sheepfold,  but  to  climb  up  some  other  way.  They  arc 
mere  usurpers  of  the  Christian  name,  teaching  a  counter-religion 
made  up  of  the  deliria  of  crazy  imaginations,  as  foreign  from  Chris 
tianity  as  is  that  of  Mahomet.  Their  blasphemies  have  driven 
thinking  men  into  infidelity,  who  have  too  hastily  rejected  the 
supposed  author  himself,  with  the  horrors  so  falsely  imputed  to 

220  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

him.  Had  the  doctrines  of  Jesus  been  preached  always  as  pure  as 
they  came  from  his  lips,  the  whole  civilized  world  would  now  have 
been  Christian.  I  rejoice  that  in  this  blessed  country  of  free  in 
quiry  and  belief,  which  has  surrendered  its  creed  and  conscience 
to  neither  kings  nor  priests,  the  genuine  doctrine  of  one  only 
God  is  reviving,  and  I  trust  that  there  is  not  a  young  man  now 
living  in  the  United  States  who  will  not  die  an  Unitarian. 

But  much  I  fear,  that  when  this  great  truth  shall  be  re-estab 
lished,  its  votaries  will  fall  into  the  fatal  error  of  fabricating  for 
mulas  of  creed  and  confessions  of  faith,  the  engines  which  so 
soon  destroyed  the  religion  of  Jesus,  and  made  of  Christendom  a 
mere  Aceldama  ;  that  they  will  give  up  morals  for  mysteries,  and 
Jesus  for  Plato.  How  much  wiser  are  the  Quakers,  who,  agree 
ing  in  the  fundamental  doctrines  of  the  gospel,  schismatize  about 
no  mysteries,  and,  keeping  within  the  pale  of  common  sense,  suf 
fer  no  speculative  differences  of  opinion,  any  more  than  of  feature, 
to  impair  the  love  of  their  brethren.  Be  this  the  wisdom  of  Uni 
tarians,  this  the  holy  mantle  which  shall  cover  within  its  charitable 
circumference  all  who  believe  in  one  God,  and  who  love  their 
neighbor  !  I  conclude  my  sermon  with  sincere  assurances  of 
my  friendly  esteem  and  respect.1 

1  A  second  letter  to  Doctor  Waterhouse  read  : 

.      MONTICELLO,  July  19,   1822. 

DEAR  SIR, — An  anciently  dislocated,  and  now  stiffening  wrist,  makes  writing 
an  operation  so  slow  and  painful  to  me,  that  I  should  not  so  soon  have  troubled 
you  with  an  acknowledgment  of  your  favor  of  the  8th,  but  for  the  request  it 
contained  of  my  consent  to  the  publication  of  my  letter  of  June  the  26th.  No, 
my  dear  Sir,  not  for  the  world.  Into  what  a  nest  of  hornets  would  it  thrust  my 
head  !  the  genus  irritabile  vatum,  on  whom  argument  is  lost,  and  reason  is,  by 
themselves,  disclaimed  in  matters  of  religion.  Don  Quixote  undertook  to  re 
dress  the  bodily  wrongs  of  the  world,  but  the  redressment  of  mental  vagaries 
would  be  an  enterprise  more  than  Quixotic.  I  should  as  soon  undertake  to 
bring  the  crazy  skulls  of  Bedlam  to  sound  understanding,  as  inculcate  reason 
into  that  of  an  Athanasian.  I  am  old,  and  tranquility  is  now  my  sumrnum 
bonum.  Keep  me,  therefore,  from  the  fire  and  faggots  of  Calvin  and  his  victim 
Servetus.  Happy  in  the  prospect  of  a  restoration  of  primitive  Christianity,  I 
must  leave  to  younger  athletes  to  encounter  and  lop  off  the  false  branches  which 
have  been  engrafted  into  it  by  the  mythologists  of  the  middle  and  modern  ages. 
I  am  not  aware  of  the  peculiar  resistance  to  Unitarianism,  which  you  ascribe  to 
Pennsylvania.  When  I  lived  in  Philadelphia,  there  was  a  respectable  congre- 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  221 


MONTICELLO,  July  5.  22. 

MESSRS.  LEROY  AND  BAYARD, — Your  favor  of  June  26.  is  just 
now  received.  After  the  delays  of  my  last  bond  with  which  I 
have  been  indulged  I  consider  it  my  bounden  duty  to  obey  the  call 
for  the  principal  whenever  required.  This  delay  was  at  first  made 
convenient  by  the  great  revolution  which  took  place  in  our  circu 
lating  medium  some  time  past  ;  and  the  continuance  of  low  mar 
kets  since  that  period  has  not  yet  relieved  the  scarcity  of  medium 
so  far  as  that  fixed  property  can  command  even  the  half  of  what 
is  it's  value  in  regular  times.  My  own  annual  income  arises  from 
the  culture  of  tobacco  and  wheat.  These  articles,  from  the  in 
terior  country  cannot  be  got  to  market  till  the  spring  of  the  year 
ensuing  their  growth,  and  at  that  season  alone  the  cultivator  can 
pay  from  his  produce.  Still  if  the  earlier  term  of  6.  months  be 
necessary  for  the  affairs  of  the  heirs  of  Mr.  Van  Staphorst,  it 
shall  be  complied  with  by  a  sale  of  fixed  property,  altho'  it  will 
double  the  debt.  If  on  the  other  hand,  consistently  with  their  con- 

gation  of  that  sect,  with  a  meeting-house  and  regular  service  which  I  attended, 
and  in  which  Dr.  Priestley  officiated  to  numerous  audiences.  Baltimore  has 
one  or  two  churches,  and  their  pastor,  author  of  an  inestimable  book  on  this 
subject,  was  elected  chaplain  to  the  late  Congress.  That  doctrine  has  not  yet 
been  preached  to  us  :  but  the  breeze  begins  to  be  felt  which  precedes  the 
storm  ;  and  fanaticism  is  all  in  a  bustle,  shutting  its  doors  and  windows  to  keep 
it  out.  But  it  will  come,  and  drive  before  it  the  foggy  mists  of  Platonism  which 
have  so  long  obscured  our  atmosphere.  I  am  in  hopes  that  some  of  the  dis 
ciples  of  your  institution  will  become  missionaries  to  us,  of  these  doctrines  truly 
evangelical,  and  open  our  eyes  to  what  has  been  so  long  hidden  from  them.  A 
bold  and  eloquent  preacher  would  be  nowhere  listened  to  with  more  freedom 
than  in  this  State,  nor  with  more  firmness  of  mind.  They  might  need  a  pre 
paratory  discourse  on  the  text  of  "  prove  all  things,  hold  fast  that  which 
is  good,"  in  order  to  unlearn  the  lesson  that  reason  is  an  unlawful  guide  in  reli 
gion.  They  might  startle  on  being  first  awaked  from  the  dreams  of  the  night, 
but  they  would  rub  their  eyes  at  once,  and  look  the  spectres  boldly  in  the  face. 
The  preacher  might  be  excluded  by  our  hierophants  from  their  churches  and 
meeting-houses,  but  would  be  attended  in  the  fields  by  whole  acres  of  hearers 
and  thinkers.  Missionaries  from  Cambridge  would  soon  be  greeted  with  more 
welcome,  than  from  the  tritheistical  school  of  Andover.  Such  are  my  wishes, 
such  would  be  my  welcomes,  warm  and  cordial  as  the  assurances  of  my  esteem 
and  respect  for  you. 

222  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

venience,  the  indulgence  can  be  continued  until  the  ensuing 
spring,  (say  till  May)  it  can  then  be  paid  without  loss,  and  shall 
certainly  be  paid.  This  however  is  left  to  your  kind  considera 
tion,  and  your  final  determination  shall  be  my  law,  at  any  loss 
whatever.  With  the  just  acknolegement  of  the  past  indulgencies, 
accept  the  assurance  of  my  great  esteem  and  respect.1 


MONTICELLO,    Oct:   27.   22. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  deferred  my  thanks  for  the  copy  of  your 
Life  of  Genl.  Greene,  until  I  could  have  time  to  read  it.  This 
I  have  done,  and  with  the  greatest  satisfaction  ;  and  can  now  more 
understandingly  express  the  gratification  it  has  afforded  me.  I 
really  rejoice  that  we  have  at  length  a  fair  history  of  the  Southern 
war.  It  proves  how  much  we  were  left  to  defend  ourselves  as  we 
could,  while  the  resources  of  the  Union  were  so  disproportionately 
devoted  to  the  North.  I  am  glad  too  to  see  the  Romance  of  Lee 
removed  from  the  shelf  of  History  to  that  of  Fable.  Some  small 
portion  of  the  transactions  he  relates  were  within  my  own  knolege  ; 
and  of  these  I  can  say  he  has  given  more  falsehood  than  fact  ; 
and  I  have  heard  many  officers  declare  the  same  as  to  what  had 
passed  under  their  eyes.  Yet  this  book  had  begun  to  be  quoted 
as  history.  Greene  was  truly  a  great  man,  he  had  not  perhaps 
all  the  qualities  which  so  peculiarly  rendered  Genl.  Washington 
the  fittest  man  on  earth  for  directing  so  great  a  contest  under  so 
great  difficulties.  Difficulties  proceeding  not  from  lukewarmness 

1  A  year  later  Jefferson  wrote  : 

MONTICELLO,  July  8,  23. 

MESSRS.  LEROY  AND  BAYARD, — You  have  reason  to  believe  I  am  unmind 
ful  that  I  ought  ere  this  to  have  remitted  you  the  amount  of  my  last  bond  ;  but 
it  is  duly  in  mind  altho"  delayed.  My  resources  for  payment  as  stated  to  you 
on  former  occasions,  are  the  produce  of  my  farms.  They  have  usually  got  to 
Richmond  in  June  :  but  are  tardier  this  year  than  ever.  Calculating  the  passage 
of  my  tobacco  down  the  river  and  time  for  inspection  and  sale,  I  shall  be  able 
to  remit  you  one  half  the  amount  by  the  end  of  this  month,  and  the  other  half 
soon  after.  I  have  thought  it  a  duty  to  remove  suspense  on  the  subject.  Al 
ways  acknoleging  the  kindness  of  your  indulgence  I  salute  you  ever  with  friend 
ship  and  respect. 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  223 

in  our  citizens  or  their  functionaries,  as  our  military  leaders  sup 
posed  ;  but  from  the  pennyless  condition  of  a  people,  totally  shut 
out  from  all  commerce  &  intercourse  with  the  world,  and  there 
fore  without  any  means  for  converting  their  labor  into  money. 
But  Greene  was  second  to  no  one  in  enterprise,  in  resource,  in 
sound  judgment,  promptitude  of  decision,  and  every  other  military 
talent.  In  addition  to  the  work  you  have  given  us,  I  look  forward 
with  anxiety  to  that  you  promise  in  the  last  paragraph  of  your 
book.  Lee's  military  fable  you  have  put  down.  Let  not  the  in 
vidious  libel  on  the  views  of  the  Republican  party,  and  on  their 
regeneration  of  the  government  go  down  to  posterity  as  hypocriti 
cally  masked.  I  was  myself  too  laboriously  employed,  while  in 
office,  and  too  old  when  I  left  it,  to  do  justice  to  those  who  had 
labored  so  faithfully  to  arrest  our  course  towards  monarchy,  and 
to  secure  the  result  of  our  revolutionary  sufferings  and  sacrifices 
in  a  government  bottomed  on  the  only  safe  basis,  the  elective  will 
of  the  people.  You  are  young  enough  for  the  task,  and  I  hope 
you  will  undertake  it. 

There  is  a  subject  respecting  the  practice  of  the  court  of  which 
you  are  a  member,  which  has  long  weighed  on  my  mind,  on  which 
I  have  long  thought  I  would  write  to  you,  and  which  I  will  take 
this  opportunity  of  doing.  It  is  in  truth  a  delicate  undertaking, 
&  yet  such  is  my  opinion  of  your  candor  and  devotedness  to  the 
Constitution,  in  it's  true  spirit,  that  I  am  sure  I  shall  meet  your 
approbation  in  unbosoming  myself  to  you.  The  subject  of  my 
uneasiness  is  the  habitual  mode  of  making  up  and  delivering  the 
opinions  of  the  supreme  court  of  the  US. 

You  know  that  from  the  earliest  ages  of  the  English  law,  from 
the  date  of  the  year-books,  at  least,  to  the  end  of  the  lid  George, 
the  judges  of  England,  in  all  but  self-evident  cases,  delivered 
their  opinions  seriatim,  with  the  reasons  and  authorities  which 
governed  their  decisions.  If  they  sometimes  consulted  together, 
and  gave  a  general  opinion,  it  was  so  rarely  as  not  to  excite 
either  alarm  or  notice.  Besides  the  light  which  their  separate 
arguments  threw  on  the  subject,  and  the  instruction  communi 
cated  by  their  several  modes  of  reasoning,  it  shewed  whether  the 
judges  were  unanimous  or  divided,  and  gave  accordingly  more 
or  less  weight  to  the  judgment  as  a  precedent.  It  sometimes 

224  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

happened  too  that  when  there  were  three  opinions  against  one, 
the  reasoning  of  the  one  was  so  much  the  most  cogent  as  to 
become  afterwards  the  law  of  the  land.  When  Ld.  Mansfield 
came  to  the  bench  he  introduced  the  habit  of  caucusing  opinions. 
The  judges  met  at  their  chambers,  or  elsewhere,  secluded  from 
the  presence  of  the  public,  and  made  up  what  was  to  be  delivered 
as  the  opinion  of  the  court.  On  the  retirement  of  Mansfield, 
Ld.  Kenyon  put  an  end  to  the  practice,  and  the  judges  returned 
to  that  of  seriatim  opinions,  and  practice  it  habitually  to  this  day, 
I  believe.  I  am  not  acquainted  with  the  late  reporters,  do  not 
possess  them,  and  state  the  fact  from  the  information  of  others. 
To  come  now  to  ourselves  I  know  nothing  of  what  is  done  in 
other  states,  but  in  this  our  great  and  good  Mr.  Pendleton  was, 
after  the  revolution,  placed  at  the  head  of  the  court  of  Appeals. 
He  adored  Ld.  Mansfield,  &  considered  him  as  the  greatest 
luminary  of  law  that  any  age  had  ever  produced,  and  he  intro 
duced  into  the  court  over  which  he  presided,  Mansfield's  prac 
tice  of  making  up  opinions  in  secret  &  delivering  them  as  the 
Oracles  of  the  court,  in  mass.  Judge  Roane,  when  he  came  to 
that  bench,  broke  up  the  practice,  refused  to  hatch  judgments,  in 
Conclave,  or  to  let  others  deliver  opinions  for  him.  At  what 
time  the  seriatim  opinions  ceased  in  the  supreme  Court  of  the 
US.,  I  am  not  informed.  They  continued  I  know  to  the  end  of 
the  3d  Dallas  in  1800.  Later  than  which  I  have  no  Reporter 
of  that  court.  About  that  time  the  present  C.  J.  came  to  the 
bench.  Whether  he  carried  the  practice  of  Mr.  Pendleton  to  it, 
or  who,  or  when  I  do  not  know ;  but  I  understand  from  others 
it  is  now  the  habit  of  the  court,  &  I  suppose  it  true  from  the 
cases  sometimes  reported  in  the  newspapers,  and  others  which 
I  casually  see,  wherein  I  observe  that  the  opinions  were  uniformly 
prepared  in  private.  Some  of  these  cases  too  have  been  of  such 
importance,  of  such  difficulty,  and  the  decisions  so  grating  to  a 
portion  of  the  public  as  to  have  merited  the  fullest  explanation 
from  every  judge  seriatim,  of  the  reasons  which  had  produced 
such  convictions  on  his  mind.  It  was  interesting  to  the  public 
to  know  whether  these  decisions  were  really  unanimous,  or  might 
not  perhaps  be  of  4.  against  3.  and  consequently  prevailing  by 
the  preponderance  of  one  voice  only.  The  Judges  holding  their 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  225 

offices  for  life  are  under  two  responsibilities  only.  i.  Impeach 
ment.  2.  Individual  reputation.  But  this  practice  compleatly 
withdraws  them  from  both.  For  nobody  knows  what  opinion 
any  individual  member  gave  in  any  case,  nor  even  that  he  who 
delivers  the  opinion,  concurred  in  it  himself.  Be  the  opinion 
therefore  ever  so  impeachable,  having  been  done  in  the  dark  it 
can  be  proved  on  no  one.  As  to  the  2d  guarantee,  personal 
reputation,  it  is  shielded  compleatly.  The  practice  is  certainly 
convenient  for  the  lazy,  the  modest  &  the  incompetent.  It  saves 
them  the  trouble  of  developing  their  opinion  methodically  and 
even  of  making  up  an  opinion  at  all.  That  of  seriatim  argument 
shews  whether  every  judge  has  taken  the  trouble  of  understand 
ing  the  case,  of  investigating  it  minutely,  and  of  forming  an 
opinion  for  himself,  instead  of  pinning  it  on  another's  sleeve.  It 
would  certainly  be  right  to  abandon  this  practice  in  order  to  give 
to  our  citizens  one  and  all,  that  confidence  in  their  judges  which 
must  be  so  desirable  to  the  judges  themselves,  and  so  important 
to  the  cement  of  the  union.  During  the  administration  of  Genl. 
Washington,  and  while  E.  Randolph  was  Attorney  General,  he 
was  required  by  Congress  to  digest  the  judiciary  laws  into  a 
single  one,  with  such  amendments  as  might  be  thought  proper. 
He  prepared  a  section  requiring  the  Judges  to  give  their  opinions 
seriatim,  in  writing,  to  be  recorded  in  a  distinct  volume.  Other 
business  prevented  this  bill  from  being  taken  up,  and  it  passed 
off,  but  such  a  volume  would  have  been  the  best  possible  book 
of  reports,  and  the  better,  as  unincumbered  with  the  hired  soph 
isms  and  perversions  of  Counsel. 

What  do  you  think  of  the  state  of  parties  at  this  time  ?  An 
opinion  prevails  that  there  is  no  longer  any  distinction,  that  the 
republicans  &  Federalists  are  compleatly  amalgamated  but  it  is 
not  so.  The  amalgamation  is  of  name  only,  not  of  principle. 
All  indeed  call  themselves  by  the  name  of  Republicans,  because 
that  of  Federalists  was  extinguished  in  the  battle  of  New  Orleans. 
But  the  truth  is  that  finding  that  monarchy  is  a  desperate  wish  in 
this  country,  they  rally  to  the  point  which  they  think  next  best,  a 
consolidated  government.  Their  aim  is  now  therefore  to  break 
down  the  rights  reserved  by  the  constitution  to  the  states  as  a 
bulwark  against  that  consolidation,  the  fear  of  which  produced 

VOL.  X.— 15 

226  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

the  whole  of  the  opposition  to  the  constitution  at  it's  birth. 
Hence  new  Republicans  in  Congress,  preaching  the  doctrines  of 
the  old  Federalists,  and  the  new  nick-names  of  Ultras  and  Radi 
cals.  But  I  trust  they  will  fail  under  the  new,  as  the  old  name, 
and  that  the  friends  of  the  real  constitution  and  union  will 
prevail  against  consolidation,  as  they  have  done  against  mon- 
archism.  I  scarcely  know  myself  which  is  most  to  be  deprecated, 
a  consolidation,  or  dissolution  of  the  states.  The  horrors  of 
both  are  beyond  the  reach  of  human  foresight. 

I  have  written  you  a  long  letter,  and  committed  to  you  thoughts 
which  I  would  do  to  few  others.  If  I  am  right,  you  will  approve 
them  ;  if  wrong,  commiserate  them  as  the  dreams  of  a  Superan 
nuate  about  things  from  which  he  is  to  derive  neither  good  nor 
harm.  But  you  will  still  receive  them  as  a  proof  of  my  confidence 
in  the  rectitude  of  your  mind  and  principles,  of  which  I  pray  you 
to  receive  entire  assurance  with  that  of  my  continued  and  great 
friendship  and  respect.1 

1  Jefferson  further  wrote  to  Johnson  on  this  subject : 

MONTICELLO,  June  12,  1823. 

DEAR  SIR, — Our  correspondence  is  of  that  accommodating  character,  which 
admits  of  suspension  at  the  convenience  of  either  party,  without  inconvenience 
to  the  other.  Hence  this  tardy  acknowledgment  of  your  favor  of  April  the  nth. 
I  learn  from  that  with  great  pleasure,  that  you  have  resolved  on  continuing  your 
history  of  parties.  Our  opponents  are  far  ahead  of  us  in  preparations  for  placing 
their  cause  favorably  before  posterity.  Yet  I  hope  even  from  some  of  them  the 
escape  of  precious  truths,  in  angry  explosions  or  effusions  of  vanity,  which  will 
betray  the  genuine  monarchism  of  their  principles.  They  do  not  themselves 
believe  what  they  endeavor  to  inculcate,  that  we  were  an  opposition  party,  not 
on  principle,  but  merely  seeking  for  office.  The  fact  is,  that  at  the  formation 
of  our  government,  many  had  formed  their  political  opinions  on  European 
writings  and  practices,  believing  the  experience  of  old  countries,  and  especially 
of  England,  abusive  as  it  was,  to  be  a  safer  guide  than  mere  theory.  The  doc 
trines  of  Europe  were,  that  men  in  numerous  associations  cannot  be  restrained 
within  the  limits  of  order  and  justice,  but  by  forces  physical  and  moral,  wielded 
over  them  by  authorities  independent  of  their  will.  Hence  their  organization 
of  kings,  hereditary  nobles,  and  priests.  Still  further  to  constrain  the  brute 
force  of  the  people,  they  deem  it  necessary  to  keep  them  down  by  hard  labor, 
poverty  and  ignorance,  and  to  take  from  them,  as  from  bees,  so  much  of  their 
earnings,  as  that  unremitting  labor  shall  be  necessary  to  obtain  a  sufficient  sur 
plus  barely  to  sustain  a  scanty  and  miserable  life.  And  these  earnings  they 

1 822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  227 


MONTICELLO,  Oct.  28.  22. 

I  will  not,  my  dear  friend,  undertake  to  quote  by 
their  dates  the  several  letters  you  have  written  me. 
They  have  been  proofs  of  your  continued  friendship 
to  me,  and  my  silence  is  no  evidence  of  any  abatement 
of  mine  to  you.  That  can  never  be  while  I  have 

apply  to  maintain  their  privileged  orders  in  splendor  and  idleness,  to  fascinate 
the  eyes  of  the  people,  and  excite  in  them  an  humble  adoration  and  submission, 
as  to  an  order  of  superior  beings.  Although  few  among  us  had  gone  all  these 
lengths  of  opinion,  yet  many  had  advanced,  some  more,  some  less,  on  the  way. 
And  in  the  convention  which  formed  our  government,  they  endeavored  to  draw 
the  cords  of  power  as  tight  as  they  could  obtain  them,  to  lessen  the  dependence 
of  the  general  functionaries  on  their  constituents,  to  subject  to  them  those  of 
the  States,  and  to  weaken  their  means  of  maintaining  the  steady  equilibrium 
which  the  majority  of  the  convention  had  deemed  salutary  for  both  branches, 
general  and  local.  To  recover,  therefore,  in  practice  the  powers  which  the 
nation  had  refused,  and  to  warp  to  their  own  wishes  those  actually  given,  was 
the  steady  object  of  the  federal  party.  Ours,  on  the  contrary,  was  to  maintain 
the  will  of  the  majority  of  the  convention,  and  of  the  people  themselves.  We 
believed,  with  them,  that  man  was  a  rational  animal,  endowed  by  nature  with 
rights,  and  with  an  innate  sense  of  justice ;  and  that  he  could  be  restrained  from 
wrong  and  protected  in  right,  by  moderate  powers,  confided  to  persons  of  his 
own  choice,  and  held  to  their  duties  by  dependence  on  his  own  will.  We  be 
lieved  that  the  complicated  organization  of  kings,  nobles,  and  priests,  was  not 
the  wisest  nor  best  to  effect  the  happiness  of  associated  man  ;  that  wisdom  and 
virtue  were  not  hereditary  ;  that  the  trappings  of  such  a  machinery,  consumed  by 
their  expense,  those  earnings  of  industry,  they  were  meant  to  protect,  and,  by 
the  inequalities  they  produced,  exposed  liberty  to  sufferance.  We  believed  that 
men,  enjoying  in  ease  and  security  the  full  fruits  of  their  own  industry,  enlisted 
by  all  their  interests  on  the  side  of  law  and  order,  habituated  to  think  for  them 
selves,  and  to  follow  their  reason  as  their  guide,  would  be  more  easily  and  safely 
governed,  than  with  minds  nourished  in  error,  and  vitiated  and  debased,  as  in 
Europe,  by  ignorance,  indigence  and  oppression.  The  cherishment  of  the 
people  then  was  our  principle,  the  fear  and  distrust  of  them,  that  of  the  other 
party.  Composed,  as  we  were,  of  the  landed  and  laboring  interests  of  the 
country,  we  could  not  be  less  anxious  for  a  government  of  law  and  order  than 
were  the  inhabitants  of  the  cities,  the  strongholds  of  federalism.  And  whether 
our  efforts  to  save  the  principles  and  form  of  our  constitution  have  not  been 
salutary,  let  the  present  republican  freedom,  order  and  prosperity  of  our  country 

228  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

breath  and  recollections  so  dear  to  me.  Among  the 
few  survivors  of  our  revolutionary  struggles,  you  are  as 
distinguished  in  my  affections,  as  in  the  eyes  of  the 
world,  &  especially  in  those  of  this  country.  You 
are  now,  I  believe,  the  Doyen  of  our  military  heroes, 

determine.  History  may  distort  truth,  and  will  distort  it  for  a  time,  by  the  su 
perior  efforts  at  justification  of  those  who  are  conscious  of  needing  it  most.  Nor 
will  the  opening  scenes  of  our  present  government  be  seen  in  their  true  aspect, 
until  the  letters  of  the  day,  now  held  in  private  hoards,  shall  be  broken  up  and 
laid  open  to  public  view.  What  a  treasure  will  be  found  in  General  Washing 
ton's  cabinet,  when  it  shall  pass  into  the  hands  of  as  candid  a  friend  to  truth  as 
he  was  himself  !  When  no  longer,  like  Caesar's  notes  and  memorandums  in  the 
hands  of  Anthony,  it  shall  be  open  to  the  high  priests  of  federalism  only,  and 
garbled  to  say  so  much,  and  no  more,  as  suits  their  views  ! 

With  respect  to  his  farewell  address,  to  the  authorship  of  which,  it  seems, 
there  are  conflicting  claims,  I  can  state  to  you  some  facts.  He  had  determined 
to  decline  re-election  at  the  end  of  his  first  term,  and  so  far  determined,  that  he 
had  requested  Mr.  Madison  to  prepare  for  him  something  valedictory,  to  be  ad 
dressed  to  his  constituents  on  his  retirement.  This  was  done,  but  he  was  finally 
persuaded  to  acquiesce  in  a  second  election,  to  which  no  one  more  strenuously 
pressed  him  than  myself,  from  a  conviction  of  the  importance  of  strengthening, 
by  longer  habit,  the  respect  necessary  for  that  office,  which  the  weight  of  his 
character  only  could  effect.  When,  at  the  end  of  his  second  term,  his  Valedic 
tory  came  out,  Mr.  Madison  recognized  in  it  several  passages  of  his  draught, 
several  others,  we  were  both  satisfied,  were  from  the  pen  of  Hamilton,  and 
others  from  that  of  the  President  himself.  These  he  probably  put  into  the  hands 
of  Hamilton  to  form  into  a  whole,  and  hence  it  may  all  appear  in  Hamilton's 
hand-writing,  as  if  it  were  all  of  his  composition. 

I  have  stated  above,  that  the  original  objects  of  the  federalists  were,  1st,  to 
warp  our  government  more  to  the  form  and  principles  of  monarchy,  and,  2d, 
to  weaken  the  barriers  of  the  State  governments  as  codrdinate  powers.  In  the 
first  they  have  been  so  completely  foiled  by  the  universal  spirit  of  the  nation, 
that  they  have  abandoned  the  enterprise,  shrunk  from  the  odium  of  their  old 
appellation,  taken  to  themselves  a  participation  of  ours,  and  under  the  pseudo- 
republican  mask,  are  now  aiming  at  their  second  object,  and  strengthened  by 
unsuspecting  or  apostate  recruits  from  our  ranks,  are  advancing  fast  towards  an 
ascendancy.  I  have  been  blamed  for  saying,  that  a  prevalence  of  the  doctrines 
of  consolidation  would  one  day  call  for  reformation  or  revolution.  I  answer  by 
asking  if  a  single  State  of  the  Union  would  have  agreed  to  the  constitution,  had 
it  given  all  powers  to  the  General  Government  ?  If  the  whole  opposition  to  it 
did  not  proceed  from  the  jealousy  and  fear  of  every  State,  of  being  subjected  to 
the  other  States  in  matters  merely  its  own  ?  And  if  there  is  any  reason  to 

1 82 2]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  229 

&  may  I  not  say  of  the  soldiers  of  liberty  in  the 
world  ?  We  differ  in  this.  My  race  is  run  ;  while 
you  have  three  good  lustres  yet  to  reach  my  time  ; 
&  these  may  give  you  much  to  do.  Weighed  down 

believe  the  States  more  disposed  now  than  then,  to  acquiesce  in  this  general 
surrender  of  all  their  rights  and  powers  to  a  consolidated  government,  one  and 

You  request  me  confidentially,  to  examine  the  question,  whether  the  Supreme 
Court  has  advanced  beyond  its  constitutional  limits,  and  trespassed  on  those  of 
the  State  authorities  ?  I  do  not  undertake  it,  my  dear  Sir,  because  I  am  unable. 
Age  and  the  wane  of  mind  consequent  on  it,  have  disqualified  me  from  investi 
gations  so  severe,  and  researches  so  laborious.  And  it  is  the  less  necessary  in 
this  case,  as  having  been  already  done  by  others  with  a  logic  and  learning  to 
which  I  could  add  nothing.  On  the  decision  of  the  case  of  Cohens  vs.  The 
State  of  Virginia,  in  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States,  in  March,  1821, 
Judge  Roane,  under  the  signature  of  Algernon  Sidney,  wrote  for  the  Enquirer 
a  series  of  papers  on  the  law  of  that  case.  I  considered  these  papers  maturely 
as  they  came  out,  and  confess  that  they  appeared  to  me  to  pulverize  every  word 
which  had  been  delivered  by  Judge  Marshall,  of  the  extra-judicial  part  of 
his  opinion  ;  and  all  was  extra-judicial,  except  the  decision  that  the  act  of  Con 
gress  had  not  purported  to  give  to  the  corporation  of  Washington  the  authority 
claimed  by  their  lottery  law,  of  controlling  the  laws  of  the  States  within  the 
States  themselves.  But  unable  to  claim  that  case,  he  could  not  let  it  go 
entirely,  but  went  on  gratuitously  to  prove,  that  notwithstanding  the  eleventh 
amendment  of  the  constitution,  a  State  could  be  brought  as  a  defendant, 
to  the  bar  of  his  court  ;  and  again,  that  Congress  might  authorize  a  corpora 
tion  of  its  territory  to  exercise  legislation  within  a  State,  and  paramount 
to  the  laws  of  that  State.  I  cite  the  sum  and  result  only  of  his  doctrines,  accord 
ing  to  the  impression  made  on  my  mind  at  the  time,  and  still  remaining.  If 
not  strictly  accurate  in  circumstance,  it  is  so  in  substance.  This  doctrine  was 
so  completely  refuted  by  Roane,  that  if  he  can  be  answered,  I  surrender  human 
reason  as  a  vain  and  useless  faculty,  given  to  bewilder,  and  not  to  guide  us. 
And  I  mention  this  particular  case  as  one  only  of  several,  because  it  gave  occa 
sion  to  that  thorough  examination  of  the  constitutional  limits  between  the  Gen 
eral  and  State  jurisdictions,  which  you  have  asked  for.  There  were  two  other 
writers  in  the  same  paper,  under  the  signatures  of  Fletcher  of  Saltoun,  and 
Somers,  who,  in  a  few  essays,  presented  some  very  luminous  and  striking  views 
of  the  question.  And  there  was  a  particular  paper  which  recapitulated  all  the 
cases  in  which  it  was  thought  the  federal  court  had  usurped  on  the  State  juris 
dictions.  These  essays  will  be  found  in  the  Enquirers  of  1821,  from  May  the 
loth  to  July  the  I3th.  It  is  not  in  my  present  power  to  send  them  to  you,  but 
if  Ritchie  can  furnish  them,  I  will  procure  and  forward  them.  If  they  had 

230  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

with  years,  I  am  still  more  disabled  from  writing  by 
a  wrist  &  fingers  almost  without  joints.  This  has 
obliged  me  to  withdraw  from  all  correspondence  that 
is  not  indispensable.  I  have  written,  for  a  long  time, 

been  read  in  the  other  States,  as  they  were  here,  I  think  they  would  have  left, 
there  as  here,  no  dissentients  from  their  doctrine.  The  subject  was  taken  up 
by  our  legislature  of  i82i-'22,  and  two  draughts  of  remonstrances  were  pre 
pared  and  discussed.  As  well  as  I  remember,  there  was  no  difference  of  opinion 
as  to  the  matter  of  right ;  but  there  was  as  to  the  expediency  of  a  remonstrance 
at  that  time,  the  general  mind  of  the  States  being  then  under  extraordinary  ex 
citement  by  the  Missouri  question  ;  and  it  was  dropped  on  that  consideration. 
But  this  case  is  not  dead,  it  only  sleepeth.  The  Indian  Chief  said  he  did  not 
go  to  war  for  every  petty  injury  by  itself,  but  put  it  into  his  pouch,  and  when 
that  was  full,  he  then  made  war.  Thank  Heaven,  we  have  provided  a  more 
peaceable  and  rational  mode  of  redress. 

This  practice  of  Judge  Marshall,  of  travelling  out  of  his  case  to  prescribe  what 
the  law  would  be  in  a  moot  case  not  before  the  court,  is  very  irregular  and  very 
censurable.  I  recollect  another  instance,  and  the  more  particularly,  perhaps, 
because  it  in  some  measure  bore  on  myself.  Among  the  midnight  appointments 
of  Mr.  Adams,  were  commissions  to  some  federal  justices  of  the  peace  for 
Alexandria.  These  were  signed  and  sealed  by  him,  but  not  delivered.  I  found 
them  on  the  table  of  the  department  of  State,  on  my  entrance  into  office,  and  I 
forbade  their  delivery.  Marbury,  named  in  one  of  them,  applied  to  the  Supreme 
Court  for  a  mandamus  to  the  Secretary  of  State,  (Mr.  Madison)  to  deliver  the 
commission  intended  for  him.  The  court  determined  at  once,  that  being  an 
original  process,  they  had  no  cognizance  of  it ;  and  therefore  the  question 
before  them  was  ended.  But  the  Chief  Justice  went  on  to  lay  down  what  the 
law  would  be,  had  they  jurisdiction  of  the  case,  to  wit :  that  they  should  com 
mand  the  delivery.  The  object  was  clearly  to  instruct  any  other  court  having 
the  jurisdiction,  what  they  should  do  if  Marbury  should  apply  to  them.  Besides 
the  impropriety  of  this  gratuitous  interference,  could  anything  exceed  the  per 
version  of  law  ?  For  if  there  is  any  principle  of  law  never  yet  contradicted, 
it  is  that  delivery  is  one  of  the  essentials  to  the  validity  of  the  deed.  Although 
signed  and  sealed,  yet  as  long  as  it  remains  in  the  hands  of  the  party  himself,  it 
is  in  fieri  only,  it  is  not  a  deed,  and  can  be  made  so  only  by  its  delivery.  In 
the  hands  of  a  third  person  it  may  be  made  an  escrow.  But  whatever  is  in  the 
executive  offices  is  certainly  deemed  to  be  in  the  hands  of  the  President  ;  and  in 
this  case,  was  actually  in  my  hands,  because,  when  I  countermanded  them, 
there  was  as  yet  no  Secretary  of  State.  Yet  this  case  of  Marbury  and  Madison 
is  continually  cited  by  bench  and  bar,  as  if  it  were  settled  law,  without  any 
animadversion  on  its  being  merely  an  obiter  dissertation  of  the  Chief  Justice. 

It  may  be  impracticable  to  lay  down  any  general  formula  of  words  which 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  231 

to  none  of  my  foreign  friends,  because  I  am  really 
unable  to  do  it.  I  owe  them  therefore  apologies,  or 
rather  truths.  Will  you  be  my  advocate  with  those 

shall  decide  at  once,  and  with  precision,  in  every  case,  this  limit  of  jurisdiction. 
But  there  are  two  canons  which  will  guide  us  safely  in  most  of  the  cases.  1st. 
The  capital  and  leading  object  of  the  constitution  was  to  leave  with  the  States 
all  authorities  which  respected  their  own  citizens  only,  and  to  transfer  to  the 
United  States  those  which  respected  citizens  of  foreign  or  other  States  :  to  make 
us  several  as  to  ourselves,  but  one  as  to  all  others.  In  the  latter  case,  then, 
constructions  should  lean  to  the  general  jurisdiction,  if  the  words  will  bear  it  ; 
and  in  favor  of  the  States  in  the  former,  if  possible  to  be  so  construed.  And 
indeed,  between  citizens  and  citizens  of  the  same  State,  and  under  their  own 
laws,  I  know  but  a  single  case  in  which  a  jurisdiction  is  given  to  the  General 
Government.  That  is,  where  anything  but  gold  or  silver  is  made  a  lawful  ten 
der,  or  the  obligation  of  contracts  is  any  otherwise  impaired.  The  separate 
legislatures  had  so  often  abused  that  power,  that  the  citizens  themselves  chose 
to  trust  it  to  the  general,  rather  than  to  their  own  special  authorities.  2d.  On 
every  question  of  construction,  carry  ourselves  back  to  the  time  when  the  con 
stitution  was  adopted,  recollect  the  spirit  manifested  in  the  debates,  and  instead 
of  trying  what  meaning  may  be  squeezed  out  of  the  text,  or  invented  against  it, 
conform  to  the  probable  one  in  which  it  was  passed.  Let  us  try  Cohen's  case 
by  these  canons  only,  referring  always,  however,  for  full  argument,  to  the  essays 
before  cited. 

1.  It  was  between  a  citizen  and  his  own  State,  and  under  a  law  of  his  State. 
It  was  a  domestic  case,  therefore,  and  not  a  foreign  one. 

2.  Can  it  be  believed,  that  under  the  jealousies  prevailing  against  the  Gen 
eral  Government,  at  the  adoption  of  the  constitution,  the  States  meant  to  sur 
render  the  authority  of  preserving  order,  of  enforcing  moral  duties  and  restraining 
vice,  within  their  own  territory  ?    And  this  is  the  present  case,  that  of  Cohen 
being  under  the  ancient  and  general  law  of  gaming.     Can  any  good  be  effected 
by  taking  from  the  States  the  moral  rule  of  their  citizens,  and  subordinating  it 
to  the  general  authority,  or  to  one  of  their  corporations,  which  may  justify  forc 
ing  the  meaning  of  words,  hunting  after  possible  constructions,  and  hanging 
inference  on  inference,  from  heaven  to  earth,  like  Jacob's  ladder?     Such  an  in 
tention  was  impossible,  and  such  a  licentiousness  of  construction  and  inference, 
if  exercised  by  both  governments,  as  may  be  done   with   equal  right,  would 
equally  authorize  both  to  claim  all  power,  general  and  particular,  and  break  up 
the  foundations  of  the  Union.     Laws  are  made  for  men  of   ordinary  under 
standing,  and  should,  therefore,  be  construed  by  the  ordinary  rules  of  common 
sense.     Their  meaning  is  not  to  be  sought  for  in  metaphysical  subtleties,  which 
may  make  anything  mean  everything  or  nothing,  at  pleasure.     It  should  be  left 
to  the  sophisms  of  advocates,  whose  trade  it  is,  to  prove  that  a  defendant  is  a 

232  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

who  complain  and  especially  with  Mr.  Tracy,  who  I 
hope  is  in  the  recovery  of  health,  &  enabled  to  con 
tinue  his  invaluable  labors. 

plaintiff,  though  dragged  into  court,  torto  collo,  like  Bonaparte's  volunteers, 
into  the  field  in  chains,  or  that  a  power  has  been  given,  because  it  ought  to 
have  been  given,  et  alia  talia.  The  States  supposed  that  by  their  tenth  amend 
ment,  they  had  secured  themselves  against  constructive  powers.  They  were  not 
lessoned  yet  by  Cohen's  case,  nor  aware  of  the  slipperiness  of  the  eels  of  the 
law.  I  ask  for  no  straining  of  words  against  the  General  Government,  nor  yet 
against  the  States.  I  believe  the  States  can  best  govern  our  home  concerns, 
and  the  General  Government  our  foreign  ones.  I  wish,  therefore,  to  see  main 
tained  that  wholesome  distribution  of  powers  established  by  the  constitution  for 
the  limitation  of  both  ;  and  never  to  see  all  offices  transferred  to  Washington, 
where,  further  withdrawn  from  the  eyes  of  the  people,  they  may  more  secretly 
be  bought  and  sold  as  at  market. 

But  the  Chief  Justice  says,  "  there  must  be  an  ultimate  arbiter  somewhere." 
True,  there  must  ;  but  does  that  prove  it  is  either  party?  The  ultimate  arbiter 
is  the  people  of  the  Union,  assembled  by  their  deputies  in  convention,  at  the 
call  of  Congress,  or  of  two-thirds  of  the  States.  Let  them  decide  to  which  they 
mean  to  give  an  authority  claimed  by  two  of  their  organs.  And  it  has  been  the 
peculiar  wisdom  and  felicity  of  our  constitution,  to  have  provided  this  peaceable 
appeal,  where  that  of  other  nations  is  at  once  to  force. 

I  rejoice  in  the  example  you  set  of  seriatim  opinions.  I  have  heard  it  often 
noticed,  and  always  with  high  approbation.  Some  of  your  brethren  will  be 
encouraged  to  follow  it  occasionally,  and  in  time,  it  may  be  felt  by  all  as  a  duty, 
and  the  sound  practice  of  the  primitive  court  be  again  restored.  Why  should 
not  every  judge  be  asked  his  opinion,  and  give  it  from  the  bench,  if  only  by  yea 
or  nay  ?  Besides  ascertaining  the  fact  of  his  opinion,  which  the  public  have  a 
right  to  know,  in  order  to  judge  whether  it  is  impeachable  or  not,  it  would  show 
whether  the  opinions  were  unanimous  or  not,  and  thus  settle  more  exactly  the 
weight  of  their  authority. 

The  close  of  my  second  sheet  warns  me  that  it  is  time  now  to  relieve  you  from 
this  letter  of  unmerciful  length.  Indeed,  I  wonder  how  I  have  accomplished  it, 
with  two  crippled  wrists,  the  one  scarcely  able  to  move  my  pen,  the  other  to 
hold  my  paper.  But  I  am  hurried  sometimes  beyond  the  sense  of  pain,  when 
unbosoming  myself  to  friends  who  harmonize  with  me  in  principle.  You  and  I 
may  differ  occasionally  in  details  of  minor  consequence,  as  no  two  minds,  more 
than  two  faces,  are  the  same  in  every  feature.  But  our  general  objects  are  the 
same,  to  preserve  the  republican  form  and  principles  of  our  constitution  and 
cleave  to  the  salutary  distribution  of  powers  which  that  has  established.  These 
are  the  two  sheet  anchors  of  our  Union.  If  driven  from  either,  we  shall  be  in 
danger  of  foundering.  To  my  prayers  for  its  safety  and  perpetuity,  I  add  those 
for  the  continuation  of  your  health,  happiness,  and  usefulness  to  your  country. 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  233 

On  the  affairs  of  your  hemisphere  I  have  two 
reasons  for  saying  little.  The  one  that  I  know  little 
of  them.  The  other  that,  having  thought  alike  thro' 
our  lives,  my  sentiments,  if  intercepted,  might  be  im 
puted  to  you,  as  reflections  of  your  own.  I  will 
hazard  therefore  but  the  single  expression  of  assur 
ance  that  this  general  insurrection  of  the  world  against 
it's  tyrants  will  ultimately  prevail  by  pointing  the  ob 
ject  of  government  to  the  happiness  of  the  people 
and  not  merely  to  that  of  their  self-constituted  gov 
ernors.  On  our  affairs  little  can  be  expected  from  an 
Octogenary,  retired  within  the  recesses  of  the  moun 
tains,  going  nowhere,  seeing  nobody  but  his  own 
house,  &  reading  a  single  newspaper  only,  &  that 
chiefly  for  the  sake  of  the  advertisements.  I  dare 
say  you  see  &  read  as  many  of  them  as  I  do.  You 
will  have  seen  how  prematurely  they  have  begun  to 
agitate  us  with  the  next  presidential  election.  Many 
candidates  are  named :  but  they  will  be  reduced  to 
two,  Adams  &  Crawford.  Party  principles,  as  hereto 
fore  will  have  their  weight,  but  the  papers  tell  you 
there  are  no  parties  now,  republicans  and  federalists 
forsooth  are  all  amalgamated.  This,  my  friend,  is  not 
so.  The  same  parties  exist  now  which  existed  before. 
But  the  name  of  Federalist  was  extinguished  in  the 
battle  of  New  Orleans ;  and  those  who  wore  it  now 
call  themselves  republicans.  Like  the  fox  pursued 
by  the  dogs,  they  take  shelter  in  the  midst  of  the 
sheep.  They  see  that  monarchism  is  a  hopeless  wish 
in  this  country,  and  are  rallying  anew  to  the  next  best 
point  a  consolidated  government.  They  are  there- 

234  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

fore  endeavouring  to  break  down  the  barriers  of  the 
state  rights,  provided  by  the  constitution  against  a 
consolidation.  Hence  you  will  see  in  the  debates  of 
Congress  these  new  republicans  maintaining  the  most 
ultra  doctrines  of  the  old  federalists.  This  new  meta 
morphosis  is  the  only  clue  which  will  enable  you  to 
understand  these  strange  appearances.  They  will  be 
come  more  prominent  in  the  ensuing  discussions. 
One  candidate  is  supposed  to  be  a  consolidationist, 
the  other  a  republican  of  the  old  school,  a  friend  to 
the  constitutional  organization  of  the  government, 
and  believing  that  the  strength  of  the  members  can 
alone  give  real  strength  to  the  body.  And  this  is 
the  sentiment  of  the  nation,  and  will  probably  prevail 
if  the  principle  of  the  Missouri  question  should  not 
mingle  itself  with  those  of  the  election.  Should  it  do 
so,  all  will  be  uncertain.  This  uncertainty  however 
gives  me  no  uneasiness.  Both  are  able  men,  both 
honest  men,  and  whatever  be  the  bias,  the  good  sense 
of  our  people  will  direct  the  boat  ultimately  to  it's 
proper  point. 

I  learn  with  great  pleasure  that  you  enjoy  good 
health.  Mine  is  also  good  altho'  I  am  very  weak.  I 
cannot  walk  further  than  my  garden  without  fatigue. 
But  I  am  still  able  to  ride  on  horseback,  and  it  is  my 
only  exercise.  That  your  life  may  be  continued  in 
health  and  happiness  to  the  term  of  your  own  wishes 
is  the  fervent  prayer  of  your  constant  and  affectionate 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  235 


MONTICELLO,  October  29,  1822. 

DEAR  SIR, — After  a  long  silence,  I  salute  you  with  affection. 
The  weight  of  eighty  years  pressing  heavily  upon  me,  with  a  wrist 
and  fingers  almost  without  joints,  I  write  as  little  as  possible, 
because  I  do  it  with  pain  and  labor.  I  retain,  however,  still  the 
same  affection  for  my  friends,  and  especially  for  my  ancient  col 
leagues,  which  I  ever  did,  and  the  same  wishes  for  their  happiness. 
Your  treaty  has  been  received  here  with  universal  gladness.  It 
was  indeed  a  strange  quarrel,  like  that  of  two  pouting  lovers,  and 
a  pimp  filching  both  ;  it  was  nuts  for  England.  When  I  liken 
them  to  lovers,  I  speak  of  the  people,  not  of  their  governments. 
Of  the  cordial  love  of  one  of  these  the  Holy  Alliance  may  know 
more  than  I  do.  I  will  confine  myself  to  our  own  affairs.  You 
have  seen  in  our  papers  how  prematurely  they  are  agitating  the 
question  of  the  next  President.  This  proceeds  from  some  un 
easiness  at  the  present  state  of  things.  There  is  considerable 
dissatisfaction  with  the  increase  of  the  public  expenses,  and 
especially  with  the  necessity  of  borrowing  money  in  time  of 
peace.  This  was  much  arraigned  at  the  last  session  of  Congress, 
and  will  be  more  so  at  the  next.  The  misfortune  is  that  the 
persons  most  looked  to  as  successors  in  the  government  are  of  the 
President's  Cabinet ;  and  their  partisans  in  Congress  are  making 
a  handle  of  these  things  to  help,  or  hurt  those  for  or  against 
whom  they  are.  The  candidates,  ins  and  outs,  seem  at  present 
to  be  many  ;  but  they  will  be  reduced  to  two,  a  Northern  and 
Southern  one,  as  usual ;  to  judge  of  the  event  the  state  of  parties 
must  be  understood.  You  are  told,  indeed,  that  there  are  no 
longer  parties  among  us  ;  that  they  are  all  now  amalgamated  ;  the 
lion  and  the  lamb  lie  down  together  in  peace.  Do  not  believe  a 
word  of  it.  The  same  parties  exist  now  as  ever  did.  No  longer, 
indeed,  under  the  name  of  Republicans  and  Federalists.  The 
latter  name  was  extinguished  in  the  battle  of  Orleans.  Those 
who  wore  it,  finding  monarchism  a  desperate  wish  in  this  country, 
are  rallying  to  what  they  deem  the  next  best  point,  a  consolidated 
government.  Although  this  is  not  yet  avowed  (as  that  of  mon 
archism,  you  know,  never  was),  it  exists  decidedly,  and  is  the  true 

236  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

key  to  the  debates  in  Congress,  wherein  you  see  many  calling 
themselves  Republicans  and  preaching  the  rankest  doctrines  of 
the  old  Federalists.  One  of  the  prominent  candidates  is  pre 
sumed  to  be  of  this  party  ;  and  the  other  a  Republican  of  the  old 
school  and  a  friend  of  the  barrier  of  States  rights,  as  provided  by 
the  Constitution  against  the  danger  of  consolidation,  which  dan 
ger  was  the  principal  ground  of  opposition  to  it  at  its  birth. 
Pennsylvania  and  New  York  will  decide  this  question.  If  the 
Missouri  principle  mixes  itself  in  the  question,  it  will  go  one  way  ; 
if  not  it  may  go  the  other.  Among  the  smaller  motives,  heredi 
tary  fears  may  alarm  one  side,  and  the  long  line  of  local  nativities 
on  the  other.  In  this  division  of  parties  the  judges  are  true  to 
their  ancient  vocation  of  sappers  and  miners. 

Our  University  of  Virginia,  my  present  hobby,  has  been  at  a 
stand  for  a  twelve-month  past  for  want  of  funds.  Our  last 
Legislature  refused  anything.  The  late  elections  give  better 
hopes  of  the  next.  The  institution  is  so  far  advanced  that  it 
will  force  itself  through.  So  little  is  now  wanting  that  the  first 
liberal  Legislature  will  give  it  its  last  lift.  The  buildings  are  in  a 
style  of  purely  classical  architecture,  and,  although  not  yet  fin 
ished,  are  become  an  object  of  visit  to  all  strangers.  Our  inten 
tion  is  that  its  professors  shall  be  of  the  first  order  in  their 
respective  lines  which  can  be  procured  on  either  side  of  the 
Atlantic.  Sameness  of  language  will  probably  direct  our  applica 
tions  chiefly  to  Edinburgh. 

I  place  some  letters  under  the  protection  of  your  cover.  You 
will  be  so  good  as  to  judge  whether  that  address  to  Lodi  will 
go  more  safely  through  the  public  mail  or  by  any  of  the  diplo 
matic  couriers,  liable  to  the  curiosity  and  carelessness  of  public 
officers.  Accept  the  assurances  of  my  constant  and  affectionate 
friendship  and  respect.  


MONTICELLO,  Oct.  31.  22. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  letter  of  Aug.  31,  dated  so  soon  after  your  de 
parture  gave  me  hopes  that  the  sufferings  at  sea  of  Mrs.  Dearborn 

1  From  a  copy  courteously  furnished  by  Dr.  J.  S.  H.  Fogg  of  Boston. 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  237 

and  yourself,  if  any,  had  been  short.  I  hope  you  will  both  find 
Lisbon  a  pleasant  residence.  I  have  heard  so  much  of  it's  climate 
that  I  suppose  that  alone  will  go  far  towards  making  it  so  ;  and 
should  the  want  of  the  language  of  the  country  lessen  the  enjoy 
ment  of  it's  society,  this  will  be  considerably  supplied  by  the 
numbers  you  will  find  there  who  speak  your  own  language.  Take 
into  the  account  also  that  you  will  escape  the  two  years  agitation 
just  commencing  with  us.  Even  before  you  had  left  us  our  news 
papers  had  already  begun  to  excite  the  question  of  the  next 
president.  They  are  advancing  fast  into  it.  Many  candidates 
are  named,  but  they  will  settle  down,  as  is  believed,  to  Adams 
and  Crawford.  If  the  Missouri  principle  should  mingle  itself 
with  the  party  divisions  the  result  will  be  very  doubtful.  For 
altho'  it  is  pretended  there  are  no  longer  any  parties  among  us, 
that  all  are  amalgamated,  yet  the  fact  is  that  the  same  parties 
exist  now  that  ever  existed,  not  indeed  under  the  old  names  of 
Republicans  and  Federalists.  The  Hartford  Convention  and 
battle  of  New  Orleans  extinguished  the  latter  name.  All  now 
call  themselves  republicans,  as  the  fox  when  pursued  by  dogs 
takes  shelter  in  the  midst  of  the  sheep.  Finding  monarchy 
desperate  here,  they  rally  to  their  next  hope,  a  consolidated 
government,  and  altho'  they  do  not  avow  it  (as  they  never 
did  monarchism)  yet  it  is  manifestly  their  next  object. 

Hence  you  see  so  many  of  these  new  republicans  maintaining 
in  Congress  the  rankest  doctrines  of  the  old  federalists.  The 
judges  aid  in  their  old  way  as  sappers  and  miners.  One  of  the 
candidates  is  supposed  to  be  a  Consolidationist,  the  other  for 
maintaining  the  banner  of  state  rights  as  provided  by  the  constitu 
tion  against  the  fear  of  Consolidation. 

Our  Virginia  University  is  now  my  sole  occupation.  It  is 
within  sight  of  Monticello,  and  the  buildings  nearly  finished,  and 
we  shall  endeavor,  by  the  best  Professors  either  side  of  the 
Atlantic  can  furnish  to  make  it  worthy  of  the  public  notice. 
Strange  as  the  idea  may  seem,  I  sincerely  think  that  the  promi 
nent  characters  of  the  country  where  you  are  could  not  better 
prepare  their  sons  for  the  duties  they  will  have  to  perform  in  their 
new  government  than  by  sending  them  here  where  they  might 
become  familiarised  with  the  habits  and  practice  of  self-govern- 

238  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

ment.     This  lesson  is  scarcely  to  be  acquired  but  in  this  country, 
and  yet  without  it,  the  political  vessel  is  all  sail  and  no  ballast. 

I  have  a  friend,  of  Portugal,  in  whose  welfare  I  feel  great 
interest,  but  whether  now  there,  or  where,  I  know  not.  It  is  the 
Abbe1  Correa  who  past  some  years  in  the  U.  S.  and  was  a  part 
of  the  time  the  Minister  of  Portugal  at  Washington.  He  left  it 
under  an  appointment  to  the  cabinet-council  of  Rio  Janeiro, 
taking  his  passage  thither  by  the  way  of  England.  While  at 
London  or  Paris  he  would  have  heard  that  the  King  and  court 
had  returned  to  Lisbon  ;  and  what  he  did  next  is  unknown  here. 
He  writes  to  none  of  his  friends,  &  yet  there  is  no  one  on  whose 
behalf  his  friends  feel  a  more  lively  solicitude,  or  wish  more  to 
hear  of  or  from.  If  at  Lisbon,  and  it  should  ever  fall  in  your  way 
to  render  him  a  service  or  kindness,  I  should  consider  it  as  more 
than  if  done  to  myself.  If  things  go  unfavorably  to  him  there, 
he  would  be  received  with  joy  into  our  University,  and  would 
certainly  find  it  a  comfortable  and  lucrative  retirement.  Should 
he  be  in  Lisbon,  be  so  good  as  to  say  so  to  him.  Say  to  Mrs. 
Dearborn  also,  how  much  she  possesses  the  affection  and  respect 
of  the  whole  family  at  Monticello,  and  accept  for  yourself  the 
assurance  of  my  constant  friendship  &  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  November  i,  1822. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  racked  my  memory  and  ran 
sacked  my  papers,  to  enable  myself  to  answer  the  in 
quiries  of  your  favor  of  October  i5th;  but  to  little 
purpose.1  My  papers  furnish  me  nothing,  my  memory, 

1  Adams'  letter  to  Jefferson  was  as  follows  : 

October  15,  1822. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  long  entertained  scruples  about  writing  this  letter,  upon 
a  subject  of  some  delicacy.  But  old  age  has  overcome  them  at  last. 

You  remember  the  four  ships  ordered  by  Congress  to  be  built,  and  the  four 
captains  appointed  by  Washington,  Talbot,  and  Truxton,  and  Barry,  &c.,  to 
carry  an  ambassador  to  Algiers,  and  protect  our  commerce  in  the  Mediterranean. 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  239 

generalities  only.  I  know  that  while  I  was  in  Europe, 
and  anxious  about  the  fate  of  our  seafaring  men,  for 
some  of  whom,  then  in  captivity  in  Algiers,  we  were 
treating,  and  all  were  in  like  danger,  I  formed,  un- 
doubtingly,  the  opinion  that  our  government,  as  soon 
as  practicable,  should  provide  a  naval  force  sufficient 
to  keep  the  Barbary  States  in  order ;  and  on  this 

I  have  always  imputed  this  measure  to  you,  for  several  reasons.  First,  because 
you  frequently  proposed  it  to  me  while  we  were  at  Paris,  negotiating  together 
for  peace  with  the  Barbary  powers.  Secondly,  because  I  knew  that  Washington 
and  Hamilton  were  not  only  indifferent  about  a  navy,  but  averse  to  it.  There 
was  no  Secretary  of  the  Navy;  only  four  Heads  of  department.  You  were  Sec 
retary  of  State  ;  Hamilton,  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  ;  Knox,  Secretary  of  War  ; 
and  I  believe  Bradford  was  Attorney  General.  I  have  always  suspected  that 
you  and  Knox  were  in  favor  of  a  navy.  If  Bradford  was  so,  the  majority  was 
clear.  But  Washington,  I  am  confident,  was  against  it  in  his  judgment.  But 
his  attachment  to  Knox,  and  his  deference  to  your  opinion,  for  I  know  he  had  a 
great  regard  for  you,  might  induce  him  to  decide  in  favor  of  you  and  Knox, 
even  though  Bradford  united  with  Hamilton  in  opposition  to  you.  That  Ham 
ilton  was  averse  to  the  measure,  I  have  personal  evidence  ;  for  while  it  was 
pending,  he  came  in  a  hurry  and  a  fit  of  impatience,  to  make  a  visit  to  me.  He 
said  he  was  likely  to  be  called  upon  for  a  large  sum  of  money  to  build  ships  of 
war,  to  fight  the  Algerines,  and  he  asked  my  opinion  of  the  measure.  I  an 
swered  him  that  I  was  clearly  in  favor  of  it.  For  I  had  always  been  of  opinion, 
from  the  commencement  of  the  revolution,  that  a  navy  was  the  most  powerful, 
the  safest  and  the  cheapest  national  defence  for  this  country.  My  advice,  there 
fore,  was,  that  as  much  of  the  revenue  as  could  possibly  be  spared,  should  be 
applied  to  the  building  and  equipping  of  ships.  The  conversation  was  of  some 
length  but  it  was  manifest  in  his  looks  and  in  his  air,  that  he  was  disgusted  at 
the  measure,  as  well  as  at  the  opinion  that  I  had  expressed. 

Mrs.  Knox  not  long  since  wrote  a  letter  to  Dr.  Waterhouse,  requesting  him 
to  procure  a  commission  for  her  son,  in  the  navy  ;  that  navy,  says  her  ladyship, 
of  which  his  father  was  the  parent.  "  For,"  says  she,  "  I  have  frequently  heard 
General  Washington  say  to  my  husband,  the  navy  was  your  child."  I  have 
always  believed  it  to  be  Jefferson's  child,  though  Knox  may  have  assisted  in 
ushering  it  into  the  world.  Hamilton's  hobby  was  the  army.  That  Washing 
ton  was  averse  to  a  navy,  I  had  full  proof  from  his  own  lips,  in  many  different 
conversations,  some  of  them  of  length,  in  which  he  always  insisted  that  it  was 
only  building  and  arming  ships  for  the  English.  "  Si  quid  novisti  rectius  istis 
candidus  imperti ;  si  non,  his  utere  mecum," 

If  I  am  in  error  in  any  particular,  pray  correct  your  humble  servant. 

240  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

subject  we  communicated  together,  as  you  observe. 
When  I  returned  to  the  United  States  and  took  part 
in  the  administration  under  General  Washington,  I 
constantly  maintained  that  opinion  ;  and  in  December, 
1790,  took  advantage  of  a  reference  to  me  from  the 
first  Congress  which  met  after  I  was  in  office,  to 
report  in  favor  of  a  force  sufficient  for  the  protection 
of  our  Mediterranean  commerce ;  and  I  laid  before 
them  an  accurate  statement  of  the  whole  Barbary 
force,  public  and  private.  I  think  General  Washing 
ton  approved  of  building  vessels  of  war  to  that  extent. 
General  Knox,  I  know,  did.  But  what  was  Colonel 
Hamilton's  opinion,  I  do  not  in  the  least  remember. 
Your  recollections  on  that  subject  are  certainly 
corroborated  by  his  known  anxieties  for  a  close  con 
nection  with  Great  Britain,  to  which  he  might  appre 
hend  danger  from  collisions  between  their  vessels  and 
ours.  Randolph  was  then  Attorney  General ;  but  his 
opinion  on  the  question  I  also  entirely  forget.  Some 
vessels  of  war  were  accordingly  built  and  sent  into  the 
Mediterranean.  The  additions  to  these  in  your  time, 
I  need  not  note  to  you,  who  are  well  known  to  have 
ever  been  an  advocate  for  the  wooden  walls  of 
Themistocles.  Some  of  those  you  added,  were  sold 
under  an  act  of  Congress  passed  while  you  were  in 
office.  I  thought,  afterwards,  that  the  public  safety 
might  require  some  additional  vessels  of  strength,  to 
be  prepared  and  in  readiness  for  the  first  moment  of 
a  war,  provided  they  could  be  preserved  against  the 
decay  which  is  unavoidable  if  kept  in  the  water,  and 
clear  of  the  expense  of  officers  and  men.  With  this 

1822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  241 

view  I  proposed  that  they  should  be  built  in  dry 
docks,  above  the  level  of  the  tide  waters,  and  covered 
with  roofs.  I  further  advised,  that  places  for  these 
docks  should  be  selected  where  there  was  a  command 
of  water  on  a  high  level,  as  that  of  the  Tyber  at 
Washington,  by  which  the  vessels  might  be  floated 
out,  on  the  principle  of  a  lock.  But  the  majority  of 
the  legislature  was  against  any  addition  to  the  navy, 
and  the  minority,  although  for  it  in  judgment,  voted 
against  it  on  a  principle  of  opposition.  We  are  now, 
I  understand,  building  vessels  to  remain  on  the  stocks, 
under  shelter,  until  wanted,  when  they  would  be 
launched  and  finished.  On  my  plan  they  could  be  in 
service  at  an  hour's  notice.  On  this,  the  finishing, 
after  launching,  will  be  a  work  of  time. 

This  is  all  I  recollect  about  the  origin  and  progress 
of  our  navy.  That  of  the  late  war,  certainly  raised 
our  rank  and  character  among  nations.  Yet  a  navy  is 
a  very  expensive  engine.  It  is  admitted,  that  in  ten 
or  twelve  years  a  vessel  goes  to  entire  decay ;  or,  if 
kept  in  repair,  costs  as  much  as  would  build  a  new 
one  ;  and  that  a  nation  who  could  count  on  twelve  or 
fifteen  years  of  peace,  would  gain  by  burning  its  navy 
and  building  a  new  one  in  time.  Its  extent,  therefore, 
must  be  governed  by  circumstances.  Since  my  pro 
position  for  a  force  adequate  to  the  piracies  of  the 
Mediterranean,  a  similar  necessity  has  arisen  in  our 
own  seas  for  considerable  addition  to  that  force. 
Indeed,  I  wish  we  could  have  a  convention  with  the 
naval  powers  of  Europe,  for  them  to  keep  down  the 
pirates  of  the  Mediterranean,  and  the  slave  ships  on 

VOL.  x. — 16. 

242  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1822 

the  coast  of  Africa,  and  for  us  to  perform  the  same 
duties  for  the  society  of  nations  in  our  seas.  In  this 
way,  those  collisions  would  be  avoided  between  the 
vessels  of  war  of  different  nations,  which  beget  wars 
and  constitute  the  weightiest  objection  to  navies.  I 
salute  you  with  constant  affection  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  November  2,  1822. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  October  the  i8th  came  to  hand 
yesterday.  The  atmosphere  of  our  country  is  unquestionably 
charged  with  a  threatening  cloud  of  fanaticism,  lighter  in  some 
parts,  denser  in  others,  but  too  heavy  in  all.  I  had  no  idea,  how 
ever,  that  in  Pennsylvania,  the  cradle  of  toleration  and  freedom 
of  religion,  it  could  have  arisen  to  the  height  you  describe.  This 
must  be  owing  to  the  growth  of  Presbyterianism.  The  blasphemy 
and  absurdity  of  the  five  points  of  Calvin,  and  the  impossibility 
of  defending  them,  render  their  advocates  impatient  of  reasoning, 
irritable,  and  prone  to  denunciation.  In  Boston,  however,  and  its 
neighborhood,  Unitarianism  has  advanced  to  so  great  strength, 
as  now  to  humble  this  haughtiest  of  all  religious  sects  ;  insomuch 
that  they  condescend  to  interchange  with  them  and  the  other  sects, 
the  civilities  of  preaching  freely  and  frequently  in  each  others' 
meeting-houses.  In  Rhode  Island,  on  the  other  hand,  no  secta 
rian  preacher  will  permit  an  Unitarian  to  pollute  his  desk.  In 
our  Richmond  there  is  much  fanaticism,  but  chiefly  among  the 
women.  .  They  have  their  night  meetings  and  praying  parties, 
where,  attended  by  their  priests,  and  sometimes  by  a  hen-pecked 
husband,  they  pour  forth  the  effusions  of  their  love  to  Jesus,  in 
terms  as  amatory  and  carnal,  as  their  modesty  would  permit  them 
to  use  to  a  mere  earthly  lover.  In  our  village  of  Charlottesville, 
there  is  a  good  degree  of  religion,  with  a  small  spice  only  of  fa 
naticism.  We  have  four  sects,  but  without  either  church  or  meet 
ing-house.  The  court-house  is  the  common  temple,  one  Sunday 
in  the  month  to  each.  Here,  Episcopalian  and  Presbyterian, 

1 822]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  243 

Methodist  and  Baptist,  meet  together,  join  in  hymning  their  Maker, 
listen  with  attention  and  devotion  to  each  others'  preachers,  and 
all  mix  in  society  with  perfect  harmony.  It  is  not  so  in  the  dis 
tricts  where  Presbyterianism  prevails  undividedly.  Their  ambi 
tion  and  tyranny  would  tolerate  no  rival  if  they  had  power. 
Systematical  in  grasping  at  an  ascendency  over  all  other  sects, 
they  aim,  like  the  Jesuits,  at  engrossing  the  education  of  the  coun 
try,  are  hostile  to  every  institution  which  they  do  not  direct,  and 
jealous  at  seeing  others  begin  to  attend  at  all  to  that  object. 
The  diffusion  of  instruction,  to  which  there  is  now  so  growing  an 
attention,  will  be  the  remote  remedy  to  this  fever  of  fanaticism  ; 
while  the  more  proximate  one  will  be  the  progress  of  Unitarian- 
ism.  That  this  will,  ere  long,  be  the  religion  of  the  majority  from 
north  to  south,  I  have  no  doubt. 

In  our  university  you  know  there  is  no  Professorship  of  Divinity. 
A  handle  has  been  made  of  this,  to  disseminate  an  idea  that  this 
is  an  institution,  not  merely  of  no  religion,  but  against  all  religion. 
Occasion  was  taken  at  the  last  meeting  of  the  Visitors,  to  bring 
forward  an  idea  that  might  silence  this  calumny,  which  weighed 
on  the  minds  of  some  honest  friends  to  the  institution.  In  our 
annual  report  to  the  legislature,  after  stating  the  constitutional 
reasons  against  a  public  establishment  of  any  religious  instruc 
tion,  we  suggest  the  expediency  of  encouraging  the  different 
religious  sects  to  establish,  each  for  itself,  a  professorship  of  their 
own  tenets,  on  the  confines  of  the  university,  so  near  as  that  their 
students  may  attend  the  lectures  there,  and  have  the  free  use  of 
our  library,  and  every  other  accommodation  we  can  give  them  ; 
preserving,  however,  their  independence  of  us  and  of  each  other. 
This  fills  the  chasm  objected  to  ours,  as  a  defect  in  an  institution 
professing  to  give  instruction  in  all  useful  sciences.  I  think  the 
invitation  will  be  accepted,  by  some  sects  from  candid  intentions, 
and  by  others  from  jealousy  and  rivalship.  And  by  bringing  the 
sects  together,  and  mixing  them  with  the  mass  of  other  students, 
we  shall  soften  their  asperities,  liberalize  and  neutralize  their 
prejudices,  and  make  the  general  religion  a  religion  of  peace, 
reason,  and  morality. 

The  time  of  opening  our  university  is  still  as  uncertain  as  ever. 
All  the  pavilions,  boarding  houses,  and  dormitories  are  done. 

244  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

Nothing  is  now  wanting  but  the  central  building  for  a  library  and 
other  general  purposes.  For  this  we  have  no  funds,  and  the  last 
legislature  refused  all  aid.  We  have  better  hopes  of  the  next. 
But  all  is  uncertain.  I  have  heard  with  regret  of  disturbances  on 
the  part  of  the  students  in  your  seminary.  The  article  of  dis 
cipline  is  the  most  difficult  in  American  education.  Premature 
ideas  of  independence,  too  little  repressed  by  parents,  beget  a 
spirit  of  insubordination,  which  is  the  great  obstacle  to  science 
with  us,  and  a  principal  cause  of  its  decay  since  the  revolution. 
I  look  to  it  with  dismay  in  our  institution,  as  a  breaker  ahead, 
which  I  am  far  from  being  confident  we  shall  be  able  to  weather. 
The  advance  of  age,  and  tardy  pace  of  the  public  patronage,  may 
probably  spare  me  the  pain  of  witnessing  consequences. 
I  salute  you  with  constant  friendship  and  respect. 


Dec.  i,  22. 

I  thank  you  Dr.  Sir  for  the  oppy.  of  reading  Mr.  Taylor's  Ire. 
which  I  now  return.  News  that  one  can  rely  on  from  a  country 
with  which  we  have  so  little  intercourse  &  so  much  mutual 
interest  is  doubly  grateful.  I  rejoice  to  learn  that  Iturbide's  is  a 
mere  usurpfi.  &  slenderly  supported.  Although  we  have  no  right 
to  intermeddle  with  the  form  of  government  of  other  nations  yet 
it  is  lawful  to  wish  to  see  no  emperors  nor  king  in  our  hemisphere, 
and  that  Brazil  as  well  as  Mexico  will  homologize  with  us.  The 
accident  to  my  arm  was  slight,  its  doing  well  &  free  from  pain.  I 
thank  you  sincerely  for  your  favor  to  Gibson.  He  is  a  worthy 
but  unfortunate  man. 


MONTICELLO,  Jan.  6.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  send  you  a  mass  of  reading,  and  so  rapidly  does 
my  hand  fail  me  in  writing  that  I  can  give  but  very  briefly  the 
necessary  explanations. 

i.  Mr.  Cabell's  letter  to  me  &  mine  to  him  which  passed  each 
other  on  the  road  will  give  you  the  state  of  things  respecting  the 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  245 

University,  and  I  am  happy  to  add  that  letters  received  from 
Appleton  give  us  reason  to  expect  our  capitals  by  the  first  vessel 
from  Leghorn,  done  of  superior  marble  and  in  superior  style. 

2.  Young  E.  Gerry  informed  me  some  time  ago  that  he  had  en 
gaged  a  person  to  write  the  life  of  his  father,  and  asked  for  any 
materials  I  could  furnish.     I  sent  him  some  letters,  but  in  search 
ing  for  them,  I  found  two,  too  precious  to  be  trusted  by  mail,  of 
the  date  of  1801.  Jan.  15.  &  20.  in  answer  to  one  I  had  written  him 
Jan.  26.  99.  two  years  before.     It  furnishes  authentic  proof  that 
in  the  X.  Y.  Z.  mission  to  France,  it  was  the  wish  of  Pickering, 
Marshall,  Pinckney  and  the  Federalists  of  that  stamp,  to  avoid  a 
treaty  with  France  and  to  bring  on  war,  a  fact  we  charged  on 
them  at  the  time  and  this  letter  proves,  and  that  their  X.  Y.  Z. 
report  was  cooked  up  to  dispose  the  people  to  war.     Gerry  their 
colleague  was  not  of  their  sentiment,  and  this  is  his  statement  of 
that  transaction.     During  the  2.  years  between  my  letter  &  his 
answer,  he  was  wavering  between  Mr.  Adams  &  myself,  between 
his  attachment  to  Mr.  Adams  personally  on  the  one  hand,  and  to 
republicanism  on  the  other  ;  for  he  was  republican,  but  timid  & 
indecisive.     The  event  of  the  election  of  1800-1.  put  an  end  to 
his  hesitations. 

3.  A  letter  of  mine  to  judge  Johnson  &  his  answer.     This  con 
veys  his  views  of  things,  and  they  are  so  serious  and  sound,  that 
they  are  worth  your  reading.     I  am  sure  that  in  communicating  it 
to  you,  I  commit  no  breach  of  trust  to  him  ;  for  he  and  every  one 
knows  that  I  have  no  political  secrets  from  you  ;  &  from  the  tenor 
of  his  letter  with  respect  to  yourself,  it  is  evident  he  would  as 
willingly  have  them  known  to  you  as  myself. 

You  will  observe  that  Mr.  Cabell,  if  the  loan  bill  should  pass, 
proposes  to  come  up  with  Mr.  Loyall,  probably  Mr.  Johnson,  and 
Genl.  Cocke  to  have  a  special  meeting.  This  is  necessary  to 
engage  our  workmen  before  they  undertake  other  work  for  the 
ensuing  season.  I  shall  desire  him,  as  soon  as  the  loan  bill 
passes  the  lower  house  (as  we  know  it  will  pass  the  Senate)  to 
name  a  day  by  mail  to  yourself  to  meet  us,  as  reasonable  notice 
to  all  the  members  is  necessary  to  make  the  meeting  legal.  I  hope 
you  will  attend,  as  the  important  decision  as  to  the  Rotunda  may 
depend  on  it. 

246  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

Our  family  is  all  well  and  joins  in  affections  to  Mrs.  Madison 
and  yourself.  My  arm  goes  on  slowly,  still  in  a  sling  and  in 
capable  of  any  use,  and  will  so  continue  some  time  yet.  Be 
so  good  as  to  return  the  inclosed  when  read  and  to  be  assured  of 
my  constant  and  affectionate  friendship. 


MONTO.  Feb.  21.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  inclosed  answers  your  favor  of  the  2Qth  ult. 
on  the  value  of  your  lands.  I  had  had  great  hopes  that  while  in 
your  present  office  you  would  break  up  the  degrading  practice  of 
considering  the  President's  house  as  a  general  tavern  and  econo 
mise  sffly  to  come  out  of  it  clear  of  difficulties.  I  learn  the 
contrary  with  great  regret.  Your  society  during  the  little  time  I 
have  left  would  have  been  the  chief  comfort  of  my  life.  Of  the 
3.  portions  into  which  you  have  laid  off  your  lands  here,  I  will 
not  yet  despair  but  that  you  may  retain  that  on  which  your  house 
stands.  Perhaps  you  may  be  able  to  make  an  equivalent  partial 
sale  in  Loudon  before  you  can  a  compleat  one  here. 

I  had  flattered  myself  that  a  particular  and  new  resource 
would  have  saved  me  from  my  unfortunate  engagements  for 
W.  C.  N.1  but  they  fail  me,  and  I  must  sell  property  to  their 

You  have  had  some  difficulties  and  contradiction  to  struggle 
with  in  the  course  of  your  admn  but  you  will  come  out  of  them 
with  honor  and  with  the  affections  of  your  country.  Mine  to 
you  have  been  &  ever  will  be  constant  and  warm. 


MO'NTICELLO,  March  4,  1823. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  delayed  some  time  the  acknowledgment  of  your 
welcome  letter  of  December  loth,  on  the  common  lazy  principle 
of  never  doing  to-day  what  we  can  put  off  to  to-morrow,  until 

1  Nicholas. 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  247 

it  became  doubtful  whether  a  letter  would  find  you  at  Charles 
ton.  Learning  now  that  you  are  at  Washington,  I  will  reply  to 
some  particulars  which  seem  to  require  it. 

The  North  American  Review  is  a  work  I  do  not  take,  and 
which  is  little  known  in  this  State,  consequently  I  have  never 
seen  its  observations  on  your  inestimable  history,  but  a  reviewer 
can  never  let  a  work  pass  uncensured.  He  must  always  make 
himself  wiser  than  his  author.  He  would  otherwise  think  it  an 
abdication  of  his  office  of  censor.  On  this  occasion,  he  seems  to 
have  had  more  sensibility  for  Virginia  than  she  has  for  herself  ; 
for,  on  reading  the  work,  I  saw  nothing  to  touch  our  pride  or  jeal 
ousy,  but  every  expression  of  respect  and  good  will  which  truth 
could  justify.  The  family  of  enemies,  whose  buzz  you  appre 
hend,  are  now  nothing.  You  may  learn  this  at  Washington  ; 
and  their  military  relation  has  long  ago  had  the  full-voiced  con 
demnation  of  his  own  State.  Do  not  fear,  therefore,  these  in 
sects.  What  you  write  will  be  far  above  their  grovelling  sphere. 
Let  me,  then,  implore  you,  dear  Sir,  to  finish  your  history  of  par 
ties,  leaving  the  time  of  publication  to  the  state  of  things  you 
may  deem  proper,  but  taking  especial  care  that  we  do  not  lose  it 
altogether.  We  have  been  too  careless  of  our  future  reputation, 
while  our  tories  will  omit  nothing  to  place  us  in  the  wrong.  Be 
sides  the  five-volumed  libel  which  represents  us  as  struggling  for 
office,  and  not  at  all  to  prevent  our  government  from  being  ad 
ministered  into  a  monarchy,  the  life  of  Hamilton  is  in  the  hands 
of  a  man  who,  to  the  bitterness  of  the  priest,  adds  the  rancor  of 
the  fiercest  federalism.  Mr.  Adams'  papers,  too,  and  his  biogra 
phy,  will  descend  of  course  to  his  son,  whose  pen,  you  know,  is 
pointed,  and  his  prejudices  not  in  our  favor.  And  doubtless  other 
things  are  in  preparation,  unknown  to  us.  On  our  part  we  are 
depending  on  truth  to  make  itself  known,  while  history  is  taking 
a  contrary  set  which  may  become  too  inveterate  for  correction. 
Mr.  Madison  will  probably  leave  something,  but  I  believe,  only 
particular  passages  of  our  history,  and  these  chiefly  confined  to 
the  period  between  the  dissolution  of  the  old  and  commencement 
of  the  new  government,  which  is  peculiarly  within  his  know 
ledge.  After  he  joined  me  in  the  administration,  he  had  no  leis 
ure  to  write.  This,  too,  was  my  case.  But  although  I  had  not 

248  THE   WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

time  to  prepare  anything  express,  my  letters,  (all  preserved)  will 
furnish  the  daily  occurrences  and  views  from  my  return  from 
Europe  in  1790,  till  I  retired  finally  from  office.  These  will 
command  more  conviction  than  anything  I  could  have  written 
after  my  retirement ;  no  day  having  ever  passed  during  that 
period  without  a  letter  to  somebody.  Written  too  in  the  moment, 
and  in  the  warmth  and  freshness  of  fact  and  feeling,  they  will 
carry  internal  evidence  that  what  they  breathe  is  genuine.  Se 
lections  from  these,  after  my  death,  may  come  out  successively 
as  the  maturity  of  circumstances  may  render  their  appearance 
seasonable.  But  multiplied  testimony,  multiplied  views  will  be 
necessary  to  give  solid  establishment  to  truth.  Much  is  known 
to  one  which  is  not  known  to  another,  and  no  one  knows  every 
thing.  It  is  the  sum  of  individual  knowledge  which  is  to  make 
up  the  whole  truth,  and  to  give  its  correct  current  through  future 
time.  Then  do  not,  dear  Sir,  withhold  your  stock  of  informa 
tion  ;  and  I  would  moreover  recommend  that  you  trust  it  not  to 
a  single  copy,  nor  to  a  single  depository.  Leave  it  not  in  the 
power  of  any  one  person,  under  the  distempered  view  of  an  un 
lucky  moment,  to  deprive  us  of  the  weight  of  your  testimony, 
and  to  purchase,  by  its  destruction,  the  favor  of  any  party  or  per 
son,  as  happened  with  a  paper  of  Dr.  Franklin's. 

I  cannot  lay  down  my  pen  without  recurring  to  one  of  the  sub 
jects  of  my  former  letter,  for  in  truth  there  is  no  danger  I  appre 
hend  so  much  as  the  consolidation  of  our  government  by  the 
noiseless,  and  therefore  unalarming,  instrumentality  of  the  su 
preme  court.  This  is  the  form  in  which  federalism  now  arrays 
itself,  and  consolidation  is  the  present  principle  of  distinction 
between  republicans  and  the  pseudo-republicans  but  real  federal 
ists.  I  must  comfort  myself  with  the  hope  that  the  judges  will 
see  the  importance  and  the  duty  of  giving  their  country  the  only 
evidence  they  can  give  of  fidelity  to  its  constitution  and  integrity 
in  the  administration  of  its  laws  ;  that  is  to  say,  by  every  one's 
giving  his  opinion  seriatim  and  publicly  on  the  cases  he  decides. 
Let  him  prove  by  his  reasoning  that  he  has  read  the  papers,  that 
he  has  considered  the  case,  that  in  the  application  of  the  law  to 
it,  he  uses  his  own  judgment  independently  and  unbiased  by 
party  views  and  personal  favor  or  disfavor.  Throw  himself  in 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  249 

every  case  on  God  and  his  country  ;  both  will  excuse  him  for 
error  and  value  him  for  his  honesty.  The  very  idea  of  cooking 
up  opinions  in  conclave,  begets  suspicions  that  something  passes 
which  fears  the  public  ear,  and  this,  spreading  by  degrees,  must 
produce  at  some  time  abridgment  of  tenure,  facility  of  removal, 
or  some  other  modification  which  may  promise  a  remedy.  For 
in  truth  there  is  at  this  time  more  hostility  to  the  federal  judi 
ciary,  than  to  any  other  organ  of  the  government. 

I  should  greatly  prefer,  as  you  do,  four  judges  to  any  greater 
number.  Great  lawyers  are  not  over  abundant,  and  the  multipli 
cation  of  judges  only  enables  the  weak  to  out-vote  the  wise,  and 
three  concurrent  opinions  out  of  four  give  a  strong  presumption 
of  right. 

I  cannot  better  prove  my  entire  confidence  in  your  candor, 
than  by  the  frankness  with  which  I  commit  myself  to  you,  and 
to  this  I  add  with  truth,  assurances  of  the  sincerity  of  my  great 
esteem  and  respect.  


MONTICELLO,  March  28.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — From  your  letter  of  prophecies  I  too  have  caught 
the  spirit  of  prophecy  :  for  who  can  withhold  looking  into  futurity, 
on  events  which  are  to  change  the  face  of  the  world,  and  the  con 
dition  of  man  throughout  it,  without  indulging  himself  in  the 
effusions  of  the  holy  spirit  of  Delphos  ?  I  may  do  it  the  more 
safely,  as  to  my  vaticinations  I  always  subjoin  the  Proviso  u  that 
nothing  unexpected  happen  to  change  the  predicted  course  of 
events."  If,  then,  France  has  invaded  Spain,  an  insurrection  im 
mediately  takes  place  in  Paris,  the  Royal  family  is  sent  to  the 

1  Jefferson  also  sent  a  copy  of  this  letter  to  Monroe,  with  the  following  ex 
planation  : 

MONTO.  Mar.  29.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — In  answering  a  letter  from  Mr.  Short  I  indulged  myself  in  some 
off  hand  speculns  on  the  present  lowering  state  of  Europe,  random  enough  to 
be  sure,  yet  on  revising  them  I  thot  I  would  hazard  a  copy  to  you  on  the  bare 
possibility  that  out  of  them,  as  we  sometimes  do  from  dreams,  you  might  pick 
up  some  hint  worth  improving  by  your  own  reflection.  At  any  rate  the  whole 
reverie  will  lose  to  you  only  the  few  minutes  required  for  it's  perusal,  and  there 
fore  I  hazard  it  with  the  assurance  of  my  constant  affectn  &  respect. 

250  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

Temple,  thence  perhaps  to  the  Guillotine  ;  to  the  2.  or  300,000 
men  able  to  bear  arms  in  Paris  will  flock  all  the  young  men  of  the 
nation,  born  and  bred  in  principles  of  freedom,  and  furnish  a 
corps  d'armee  with  Orleans,  Beauharnais,  or  Fayette  at  their 
head  ;  the  army  of  the  Pyrenees  catch  the  same  flame  and  return 
to  Paris  with  their  arms  in  their  hands.  The  Austrian  and  Prus 
sian  armies  march  to  the  relief  of  Louis  XVIII,  a  descendant 
as  well  as  Ferdinand  of  Henry  IV.  As  soon  as  their  backs  are 
turned,  an  universal  insurrection  takes  place  in  Germany,  Prussia, 
perhaps  the  Netherlands,  thro'  all  Italy  certainly,  who  besides  a 
force  sufficient  to  settle  their  own  governments,  can  send  aids  to 
France.  Alexander,  in  the  meantime,  having  dexterously  set  all 
the  South  of  Europe  together  by  the  ears,  leaves  them  the  bag  to 
hold,  and  turns  his  whole  force  on  Turkey,  profiting  of  the  oppor 
tunity  at  length  obtained,  which  never  occurred  before,  and  never 
would  again. 

In  the  mean  time  Great  Britain  and  the  U  S.  prepare  for  milk 
ing  the  cow  ;  and,  as  friends  to  all  parties,  furnish  all  with  cabo 
tage,  commerce,  manufactures  and  food.  Great  Britain  particularly 
gets  full  employment  for  all  her  hands,  machines  and  capital ;  she 
recovers  from  her  distresses  &  rises  again  into  prosperity  and 
splendour.  She  goes  hand  in  hand  with  us  in  reaping  this  harvest 
and  on  fair  principles  of  Neutrality,  which  it  will  now  be  her  in 
terest  to  settle  and  observe  :  She  joins  us  too  in  a  guarantee  of 
the  independance  of  Cuba,  with  the  consent  of  Spain,  and  removes 
thus  this  bone  of  contention  from  between  us.  We  avail  ourselves 
of  this  occasion  of  a  cordial  conciliation  and  friendship  with 
Spain,  by  assuring  her  of  every  friendly  office  which  even  a  par 
tial  neutrality  will  permit,  and  particularly  that,  during  their  strug 
gle,  they  need  fear  nothing  hostile  from  us  in  their  colonies,  and 
Spain  and  Portugal  wisely  relinquish  the  dependance  of  all  their 
American  colonies,  on  condition  they  make  common  cause  with 
them  in  the  present  conflict.  Is  not  this  a  handsome  string  of 
events,  which  are  to  give  Representative  Governments  to  all 
Europe,  and  all  of  which  are  surely  to  take  place  "if  nothing 
unexpected  happens  to  change  their  course "  ?  It  might  be 
amusing  half  a  dozen  years  hence,  to  review  these  predictions 
and  see  how  they  tally  with  history. 


I  shall  receive,  with  high  pleasure,  your  visit  in  the  Autumn. 
When  the  time  approaches,  we  must  secure  a  concert  between  that 
and  mine  to  Bedford  to  which  all  times  are  indifferent.  Our  Uni 
versity  is  now  compleat  to  a  single  building,  which,  having  seen 
the  Pantheon,  your  imagination  will  readily  supply,  so  as  to  form 
a  good  idea  of  its  ultimate  appearance.  You  must  bequeath  it 
your  library,  as  many  others  of  us  propose  to  do. 

The  bone  of  my  arm  is  well  knitted  and  strong,  but  the  carpal 
bones,  having  been  disturbed,  maintain  an  cedematous  swelling 
of  the  hand  and  fingers,  keeping  them  entirely  helpless  and  hold 
ing  up  no  definite  term  for  the  recovery  of  their  usefulness.  I 
am  now  in  the  5th  months  of  this  disability. 

Nothing  could  have  carried  me  through  the  labor  of  this  long 
letter  but  the  glow  of  the  Pythian  inspiration,  and  I  must  rest, 
after  exhaustion,  as  that  goddess  usually  did,  adding  only  assur 
ances  of  my  constant  and  affectionate  friendship  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  May  3,  1823. 

DEAR  GENERAL, — I  duly  received  your  favor  of  the  24th  ult. 
But  I  am  rendered  a  slow  correspondent  by  the  loss  of  the  use, 
totally  of  the  one,  and  almost  totally  of  the  other  wrist,  which 
renders  writing  scarcely  and  painfully  practicable.  I  learn  with 
great  satisfaction  that  wholesome  economies  have  been  found, 
sufficient  to  relieve  us  from  the  ruinous  necessity  of  adding  an 
nually  to  our  debt  by  new  loans.  The  deviser  of  so  salutary  a 
relief  deserves  truly  well  of  his  country.  I  shall  be  glad,  too,  if 
an  additional  tax  of  one-fourth  of  a  dollar  a  gallon  on  whiskey 
shall  enable  us  to  meet  all  our  engagements  with  punctuality. 
Viewing  that  tax  as  an  article  in  a  system  of  excise,  I  was  once 
glad  to  see  it  fall  with  the  rest  of  the  system,  which  I  considered 
as  prematurely  and  unnecessarily  introduced.  It  was  evident 
that  our  existing  taxes  were  then  equal  to  our  existing  debts.  It 
was  clearly  foreseen  also  that  the  surplus  from  excise  would  only 
become  aliment  for  useless  offices,  and  would  be  swallowed  in 
idleness  by  those  whom  it  would  withdraw  from  useful  industry. 
Considering  it  only  as  a  fiscal  measure,  this  was  right.  But  the 

252  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

prostration  of  body  and  mind  which  the  cheapness  of  this  liquor 
is  spreading  through  the  mass  of  our  citizens,  now  calls  the  atten 
tion  of  the  legislator  on  a  very  different  principle.  One  of  his 
important  duties  is  as  guardian  of  those  who  from  causes  insus 
ceptible  of  precise  definition,  cannot  take  care  of  themselves.  Such 
are  infants,  maniacs,  gamblers,  drunkards.  The  last,  as  much  as 
the  maniac,  requires  restrictive  measures  to  save  him  from  the 
fatal  infatuation  under  which  he  is  destroying  his  health,  his 
morals,  his  family,  and  his  usefulness  to  society.  One  powerful 
obstacle  to  his  ruinous  self-indulgence  would  be  a  price  beyond 
his  competence.  As  a  sanatory  measure,  therefore,  it  becomes 
one  of  duty  in  the  public  guardians.  Yet  I  do  not  think  it  follows 
necessarily  that  imported  spirits  should  be  subjected  to  similar 
enhancement,  until  they  become  as  cheap  as  those  made  at  home. 
A  tax  on  whiskey  is  to  discourage  its  consumption  ;  a  tax  on  for 
eign  spirits  encourages  whiskey  by  removing  its  rival  from  com 
petition.  The  price  and  present  duty  throw  foreign  spirits  already 
out  of  competition  with  whiskey,  and  accordingly  they  are  used 
but  to  a  salutary  extent.  You  see  no  persons  besotting  themselves 
with  imported  spirits,  wines,  liquors,  cordials,  &c.  Whiskey 
claims  to  itself  alone  the  exclusive  office  of  sot-making.  Foreign 
spirits,  wines,  teas,  coffee,  segars,  salt,  are  articles  of  as  innocent 
consumption  as  broadcloths  and  silks  and  ought,  like  them,  to 
pay  but  the  average  ad  valorem  duty  of  other  imported  comforts. 
All  of  them  are  ingredients  in  our  happiness,  and  the  government 
which  steps  out  of  the  ranks  of  the  ordinary  articles  of  consump 
tion  to  select  and  lay  under  disproportionate  burthens  a  particular 
one,  because  it  is  a  comfort,  pleasing  to  the  taste,  or  necessary  to 
health,  and  will  therefore  be  bought,  is,  in  that  particular,  a  tyr 
anny.  Taxes  on  consumption  like  those  on  capital  or  income,  to 
be  just,  must  be  uniform.  I  do  not  mean  to  say  that  it  may  not 
be  for  the  general  interest  to  foster  for  awhile  certain  infant  manu 
factures,  until  they  are  strong  enough  to  stand  against  foreign 
rivals  ;  but  when  evident  that  they  will  never  be  so,  it  is  against 
right,  to  make  the  other  branches  of  industry  support  them. 
When  it  was  found  that  France  could  not  make  sugar  under  6  h. 
a  lb.,  was  it  not  tyranny  to  restrain  her  citizens  from  importing 
at  i  h.  ?  or  would  it  not  have  been  so  to  have  laid  a  duty  of  5  h. 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  253 

on  the  imported  ?  The  permitting  an  exchange  of  industries 
with  other  nations  is  a  direct  encouragement  of  your  own,  which 
without  that,  would  bring  you  nothing  for  your  comfort,  and 
would  of  course  cease  to  be  produced. 

On  the  question  of  the  next  Presidential  election,  I  am  a  mere 
looker  on.  I  never  permit  myself  to  express  an  opinion,  or  to 
feel  a  wish  on  the  subject.  I  indulge  a  single  hope  only,  that 
the  choice  may  fall  on  one  who  will  be  a  friend  of  peace,  of 
economy,  of  the  republican  principles  of  our  constitution,  and  of 
the  salutary  distribution  of  powers  made  by  that  between  the 
general  and  the  local  governments,  to  this,  I  ever  add  sincere 
prayers  for  your  happiness  and  prosperity. 


May  31,  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — On  my  late  return  from  Bedford  I  found  here  your 
three  favors  of  May  9.  13.  &  — .  The  millet  you  have  been  so 
kind  as  to  send  me  is  not  yet  arrived.  Accept  my  thanks  for  it  as 
well  as  for  the  details  as  to  it's  culture  &  produce.  I  shall  turn  it 
over  to  my  grandson  T.  J.  Randolph,  to  whom  I  have  committed 
the  management  of  the  whole  of  my  agricultural  concerns,  in 
which  I  was  never  skilful  and  am  now  entirely  unequal  from  age 
and  debility.  He  had  reed,  some  seed  of  the  same  kind  from 
another  quarter  and  had  sowed  an  acre  &  a  half  by  way  of  ex 
periment.  To  this  he  will  add  what  you  are  so  kind  as  to  send  if 
it  comes  in  time.  We  had  heard  much  of  it's  great  produce  & 
particularly  in  Kentucky.  We  have  also  obtained  a  little  of  the 
genuine  Guinee  grass,  a  plant  of  great  &  nutritious  produce. 
This  too  is  under  trial.  Withdrawn  entirely  from  agriculture  I 
am  equally  so  from  the  business  of  the  world  &  especially  from 
political  concerns  which  I  trust  entirely  to  the  genern  of  the 
day,  without  enquiry,  or  reading  but  a  single  newspaper.  I  shall 
therefore  accdg  to  your  permission  consign  the  several  valuable 
pamphlets  you  have  sent  me  to  some  of  our  members  of  Con 
gress  or  others  in  power,  who  may  use  them  to  advantage.  I  am 
sure  however  I  should  read  your  vinegar  &  pepper  letters  with 

254  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

pleasure  should  you  send  them  on  ;  for  whenever  I  have  been 
confounded  in  the  labyrinth  of  politics  of  Pennsylve  especially 
I  have  ever  applied  to  you  for  their  clue  &  have  found  my 
self  kept  right  by  your  informn.  I  am  all  alive  however  to  the 
war  of  Spain  &  it's  atrocious  invasion  by  France.  I  trust  it  will 
end  in  an  Universal  insurrection  of  continental  Europe  &  in  the 
establmt  of  representative  government  in  every  country  of  it. 
We  surely  see  the  finger  of  providence  in  the  insanity  of  France 
which  brings  on  this  great  consummation. 

I  learn  from  you  with  great  satisfn  the  details  concerning 
your  family,  and  their  happy  &  prosperous  progress  in  life. 
Your  own  losses  by  endorsements  are  heavy  indeed.  I  do  not 
know  whether  you  may  recollect  how  loudly  my  voice  was  raised 
agt.  the  establmt  of  banks  in  the  begng.  But  like  that  of  Cas 
sandra  it  was  not  listened  to.  I  was  set  down  as  a  madman  by 
those  who  have  since  been  victims  to  them.  I  little  thought 
then  how  much  I  was  to  suffer  by  them  myself,  for  I  too  am 
taken  in  by  endorsements  for  a  friend  to  the  amount  of  20,000  D. 
for  the  payment  of  which  I  shall  have  to  make  sale  of  that 
much  of  my  property  the  ensuing  winter.  And  yet  the  gen 
eral  revoln  of  fortunes  which  these  instrmns  have  produced 
seem  not  at  all  to  have  cured  our  country  of  this  mania. 

Your  last  letter  first  enables  me  to  return  you  the  thanks  so 
long  due  &  unrendered  for  the  two  prints  of  Bonaparte,  being 
the  first  informn  I  have  reed  that  they  came  from  you.  They 
came  to  me  without  the  least  indicn  from  what  quarter.  I  went 
to  the  village  of  Milton,  &  enquired  of  the  boatmen,  who  could 
tell  me  nothing  more  than  that  they  were  delivered  to  them  for 
me  by  a  person  whom  they  did  not  know,  and  the  present  was  so 
magnificent  that  I  really  suspected  it  came  from  Joseph  Bona 
parte  or  some  of  the  refugee  French  Generals  who  were  then 
with  us.  Dr.  Watson  first  suggested  that  he  believed  they  had 
come  from  you  and  that  you  had  never  learnt  their  safe  arrival. 
I  prayed  him  on  his  return  to  Phila  to  ascertain  the  fact,  and 
your  letter  now,  for  the  first  time  gives  me  the  informn  desired. 
I  pray  you  to  be  assured  that  nothing  but  this  ignorance  could 
so  long  have  withheld  my  just  acknolegmts  for  this  mark  of 
your  frdshp  so  splendid  &  so  acceptable.  You  suppose  that 

1 823!  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  255 

in  some  letter  of  mine  an  idea  is  conveyed  of  dissatsn  on  my 
part  for  something  mentd.  by  you  on  the  subject  of  my  religion. 
Certainly  no  letter  of  mine  to  you  can  ever  have  expressed  such 
an  idea.  I  never  heard  of  any  animadversion  of  yours  on  my 
religion  &  I  believe  that  is  one  of  the  subjects  on  which  our  con- 
versn  never  turned,  and  that  neither  of  us  ever  knew  what  was 
the  religion  of  the  other.  On  this  point  I  suppose  we  are  both 
equally  tolerant  &  charitable. 

I  am  far  from  being  in  the  condn  of  easy-writing  which  your 
letter  supposes,  with  2  crippled  wrists,  the  one  scarcely  able  to 
move  my  pen,  the  other  to  hold  my  paper.  This  double  misfor 
tune,  the  one  of  antr  date  now  aggravated  by  age,  the  other 
recent,  renders  writing  so  slow  &  painful  that  nothing  can  in 
duce  me  to  approach  the  writing  table  but  business  indispensa 
ble  or  the  irresistible  impulse  to  assure  my  friends,  as  I  now  do 
you,  of  my  constant  &  affecte  frdshp  &  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  June  9.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  received  yesterday  your  favor  of  the  3ist  ult. 
and  my  Grandson  Th  :  J.  R.  having  set  out  to  Richmond  the  day 
before  I  immediately  inclosed  the  papers  to  him  by  mail  and  in 
formed  him  that  I  should  be  ready  if  thot  necessary,  to  bear  testi 
mony  to  the  honble  character  of  our  deed,  friend,  as  I  knew  him. 
I  am  sorry  to  learn  that  you  are  among  the  sufferers  by  his  mis 
fortunes.  I  am  dreadfully  so,  to  an  amount  which  will  weigh 
heavily  on  the  remr  of  my  life. 

I  was  much  gratified  by  the  visit  of  your  son  and  formed  as 
favorable  an  opinion  of  him  as  it's  shortness  would  permit.  I 
hope  we  shall  have  our  Univty.  opened  yet  in  time  for  him.  This 
however  must  depend  on  the  future  acts  of  the  legislature. 
They  started  the  schemes  of  their  Primary  schools  and  university 
at  the  same  time,  and  as  if  on  the  same  footing,  without  consider 
ing  that  the  former  required  no  preliminary  expence,  the  latter 
an  immense  one,  and  their  supplies  of  the  deficiency  they  have 
called  hitherto  by  the  name  of  loans,  as  if  the  monies  of  the  liter- 

256  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

ary  fund  could  be  more  legitimately  appropriated.  Their  last  vote 
will  compleatly  finish  the  buildings,  and  whenever  they  shall  de 
clare  our  annuity  liberated  from  this  incumbrance,  we  shall  take 
measures  to  procure  professors  and  to  open  the  institution.  I 
hope  they  will  make  this  declaration  at  their  next  session.  We 
can  immediately  accommodate  200  students,  which  number  I  am 
sure  will  be  quickly  furnished  to  overflowing.  Every  student 
addnal  to  that  number,  and  I  think  they  will  be  many,  will  require 
progressive  accommdns  to  the  amount  of  300.  D.  for  each  until 
we  attain  our  maximum,  which  the  success  of  the  establmt  will  I 
hope  by  that  time  encourage  the  legislature  to  furnish,  in  considn 
of  the  D.  &  cents  they  will  add  to  our  circuln  as  well  as  to  the 
diffusion  of  science  among  our  citizens. 

I  have  been  gratified  lately  by  hearing  that  your  health  was 
improving.  The  bone  of  my  arm  which  was  fractured,  is  well 
knitted,  but  the  small  bones  of  the  wrist  being  dislocated  at  the 
same  time,  could  not  be  truly  replaced,  so  that  it's  use  will  never 
be  recovered  in  any  great  degree.  My  health  is  good,  but  so 
weakened  by  age  that  I  can  walk  but  little,  but  I  ride  daily  & 
with  little  fatigue.  I  hope  you  will  continue  as  long  as  you  wish 
it  to  enjoy  life  and  health,  and  pray  you  to  be  assured  of  my  con 
stant  and  sincere  frdshp  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  June  ii,  1823. 

DEAR  SIR, — Considering  that  I  had  not  been  to  Bedford  for  a 
twelvemonth  before,  I  thought  myself  singularly  unfortunate  in 
so  timing  my  journey,  as  to  have  been  absent  exactly  at  the  mo 
ment  of  your  late  visit  to  our  neighborhood.  The  loss,  indeed, 
was  all  my  own  ;  for  in  these  short  interviews  with  you,  I  gener 
ally  get  my  political  compass  rectified,  learn  from  you  whereabouts 
we  are,  and  correct  my  course  again.  In  exchange  for  this,  I  can 
give  you  but  newspaper  ideas,  and  little  indeed  of  these,  for  I 
read  but  a  single  paper,  and  that  hastily.  I  find  Horace  and 
Tacitus  so  much  better  writers  than  the  champions  of  the  gazettes, 
that  I  lay  those  down  to  take  up  these  with  great  reluctance. 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  257 

And  on  the  question  you  propose,  whether  we  can,  in  any  form, 
take  a  bolder  attitude  than  formerly  in  favor  of  liberty,  I  can  give 
you  but  commonplace  ideas.  They  will  be  but  the  widow's  mite, 
and  offered  only  because  requested.  The  matter  which  now  em 
broils  Europe,  the  presumption  of  dictating  to  an  independent 
nation  the  form  of  its  government,  is  so  arrogant,  so  atrocious, 
that  indignation,  as  well  as  moral  sentiment,  enlists  all  our  partiali 
ties  and  prayers  in  favor  of  one,  and  our  equal  execrations  against 
the  other.  I  do  not  know,  indeed,  whether  all  nations  do  not  owe 
to  one  another  a  bold  and  open  declaration  of  their  sympathies 
with  the  one  party  and  their  detestation  of  the  conduct  of  the 
other.  But  farther  than  this  we  are  not  bound  to  go  ;  and  in 
deed,  for  the  sake  of  the  world,  we  ought  not  to  increase  the 
jealousies,  or  draw  on  ourselves  the  power  of  this  formidable  con 
federacy.  I  have  ever  deemed  it  fundamental  for  the  United 
States,  never  to  take  active  part  in  the  quarrels  of  Europe.  Their 
political  interests  are  entirely  distinct  from  ours.  Their  mutual 
jealousies,  their  balance  of  power,  their  complicated  alliances, 
their  forms  and  principles  of  government,  are  all  foreign  to  us. 
They  are  nations  of  eternal  war.  All  their  energies  are  expended 
in  the  destruction  of  the  labor,  property  and  lives  of  their  people. 
On  our  part,  never  had  a  people  so  favorable  a  chance  of  trying 
the  opposite  system,  of  peace  and  fraternity  with  mankind,  and 
the  direction  of  all  our  means  and  faculties  to  the  purposes  of 
improvement  instead  of  destruction.  With  Europe  we  have  few 
occasions  of  collision,  and  these,  with  a  little  prudence  and  for 
bearance,  may  be  generally  accommodated.  Of  the  brethren  of 
our  own  hemisphere,  none  are  yet,  or  for  an  age  to  come  will  be, 
in  a  shape,  condition,  or  disposition  to  war  against  us.  And  the 
foothold  which  the  nations  of  Europe  had  in  either  America,  is 
slipping  from  under  them,  so  that  we  shall  soon  be  rid  of  their 
neighborhood.  Cuba  alone  seems  at  present  to  hold  up  a  speck 
of  war  to  us.  Its  possession  by  Great  Britain  would  indeed  be 
a  great  calamity  to  us.  Could  we  induce  her  to  join  us  in  guar 
anteeing  its  independence  against  all  the  world,  except  Spain,  it 
would  be  nearly  as  valuable  to  us  as  if  it  were  our  own.  But 
should  she  take  it,  I  would  not  immediately  go  to  war  for  it ;  be 
cause  the  first  war  on  other  accounts  will  give  it  to  us  ;  or  the 

VOL.  X.— 17 

258  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

island  will  give  itself  to  us,  when  able  to  do  so.  While  no  duty, 
therefore,  calls  on  us  to  take  part  in  the  present  war  of  Europe, 
and  a  golden  harvest  offers  itself  in  reward  for  doing  nothing, 
peace  and  neutrality  seem  to  be  our  duty  and  interest.  We  may 
gratify  ourselves,  indeed,  with  a  neutrality  as  partial  to  Spain  as 
would  be  justifiable  without  giving  cause  of  war  to  her  adversary  ; 
we  might  and  ought  to  avail  ourselves  of  the  happy  occasion  of 
procuring  and  cementing  a  cordial  reconciliation  with  her,  by 
giving  assurance  of  every  friendly  office  which  neutrality  admits, 
and  especially,  against  all  apprehension  of  our  intermeddling  in 
the  quarrel  with  her  colonies.  And  I  expect  daily  and  confi 
dently  to  hear  of  a  spark  kindled  in  France,  which  will  employ 
her  at  home,  and  relieve  Spain  from  all  further  apprehensions  of 

That  England  is  playing  false  with  Spain  cannot  be  doubted. 
Her  government  is  looking  one  way  and  rowing  another.  It  is 
curious  to  look  back  a  little  on  past  events.  During  the  ascend 
ancy  of  Bonaparte,  the  word  among  the  herd  of  kings,  was  "  sauve 
qui  peut"  Each  shifted  for  himself,  and  left  his  brethren  to 
squander  and  do  the  same  as  they  could.  After  the  battle  of 
Waterloo,  and  the  military  possession  of  France,  they  rallied  and 
combined  in  common  cause,  to  maintain  each  other  against  any 
similar  and  future  danger.  And  in  this  alliance,  Louis,  now 
avowedly,  and  George,  secretly  but  solidly,  were  of  the  contract 
ing  parties  ;  and  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  allies  are  bound 
by  treaty  to  aid  England  with  their  armies,  should  insurrection 
take  place  among  her  people.  The  coquetry  she  is  now  playing 
off  between  her  people  and  her  allies  is  perfectly  understood  by 
the  latter,  and  accordingly  gives  no  apprehensions  to  France,  to 
whom  it  is  all  explained.  The  diplomatic  correspondence  she  is 
now  displaying,  these  double  papers  fabricated  merely  for  exhi 
bition,  in  which  she  makes  herself  talk  of  morals  and  principle,  as 
if  her  qualms  of  conscience  would  not  permit  her  to  go  all  lengths 
with  her  Holy  Allies,  are  all  to  gull  her  own  people.  It  is  a  the 
atrical  farce,  in  which  the  five  powers  are  the  actors,  England  the 
Tartuffe,  and  her  people  the  dupes.  Playing  thus  so  dextrously 
into  each  others'  hands,  and  their  own  persons  seeming  secured, 
they  are  now  looking  to  their  privileged  orders.  These  faithful 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  259 

auxiliaries,  or  accomplices,  must  be  saved.  This  war  is  evidently 
that  of  the  general  body  of  the  aristocracy,  in  which  England  is 
also  acting  her  part.  "  Save  but  the  Nobles  and  there  shall  be 
no  war,"  says  she,  masking  her  measures  at  the  same  time  under 
the  form  of  friendship  and  mediation,  and  hypocritically,  while  a 
party,  offering  herself  as  a  judge,  to  betray  those  whom  she  is  not 
permitted  openly  to  oppose.  A  fraudulent  neutrality,  if  neutrality 
at  all,  is  all  Spain  will  get  from  her.  And  Spain,  probably,  per 
ceives  this,  and  willingly  winks  at  it  rather  than  have  her  weight 
thrown  openly  into  the  other  scale. 

But  I  am  going  beyond  my  text,  and  sinning  against  the  adage 
of  carrying  coals  to  Newcastle.  In  hazarding  to  you  my  crude 
and  uninformed  notions  of  things  beyond  my  cognizance,  only 
be  so  good  as  to  remember  that  it  is  at  your  request,  and  with  as 
little  confidence  on  my  part  as  profit  on  yours.  You  will  do  what 
is  right,  leaving  the  people  of  Europe  to  act  their  follies  and  crimes 
among  themselves,  while  we  pursue  in  good  faith  the  paths  of 
peace  and  prosperity.  To  your  judgment  we  are  willingly  resigned, 
with  sincere  assurances  of  affectionate  esteem  and  respect. 


MONTO.  June  13.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  communicated  to  you  a  former  part  of  a  corres- 
pdce  between  Judge  Johnson  of  Charleston  and  myself,  chiefly  on 
the  practice  of  caucusing  opns  which  is  that  of  the  Supreme  court 
of  the  US.  but  on  some  other  matters  also,  particularly  his  history 
of  parties.  In  a  late  letter  he  asks  me  to  give  him  my  idea  of  the 
precise  principles  &  views  of  the  Republicans  in  their  opposn  to  the 
Feds  when  that  opposn  was  highest,  also  my  opn  of  the  line  divid 
ing  the  jurisdn  of  the  general  &  state  govmts,  mentions  a  dispute 
between  Genl.  W.'s  frds  &  Mr.  Hamilton  as  to  the  authorship  of 
their  Valedictory,  and  expresses  his  concurrce  with  me  on  the 
subject  of  seriatim  opns.  This  last  being  of  primary  importance 
I  inclose  you  a  copy  of  my  answer  to  the  judge,  because  if  you 
think  of  it  as  I  do,  I  suppose  your  connection  with  Judge  Todd 
&  your  antient  intimacy  with  Judge  Duvel  might  give  you  an 

260  THE  WRITINGS  OF  0823 

opening  to  say  something  to  them  on  the  subject.  If  Johnson 
could  be  backed  by  them  in  the  practice,  the  others  would  be 
obliged  to  follow  suit  and  this  dangerous  engine  of  consolidn 
would  feel  a  proper  restraint  by  their  being  compelled  to  explain 
publicly  the  grounds  of  their  opinions.  What  I  have  stated  as 
the  Valedictory,  is  accdg  to  my  recollection  ;  if  you  find  any  error 
it  shall  be  corrected  in  another  letter.  When  you  shall  have  read 
the  inclosed  be  so  good  as  to  return  it,  as  I  have  no  other  copy. 

The  literary  board  have  advanced  40,000  D.  and  will  retain 
the  balance  for  us  as  requested  until  the  end  of  the  year,  and  the 
building  is  going  on  rapidly.  Ever  &  affectly.  yours. 


MONTICELLO,  June  23,  1823. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  been  lately  visited  by  a  Mr.  Miralla,  a  na 
tive  of  Buenos  Ayres,  but  resident  in  Cuba  for  the  last  seven  or 
eight  years  ;  a  person  of  intelligence,  of  much  information,  and 
frankly  communicative.  I  believe,  indeed,  he  is  known  to  you. 
I  availed  myself  of  the  opportunity  of  learning  what  was  the 
state  of  public  sentiment  in  Cuba  as  to  their  future  course.  He 
says  they  should  be  satisfied  to  remain  as  they  are  ;  but  all  are 
sensible  that  that  cannot  be  ;  that  whenever  circumstances  shall 
render  a  separation  from  Spain  necessary,  a  perfect  independance 
would  be  their  choice,  provided  they  could  see  a  certainty  of 
protection  ;  but  that,  without  that  prospect,  they  would  be  di 
vided  in  opinion  between  an  incorporation  with  Mexico,  and 
with  the  United  States. — Columbia  being  too  remote  for  prompt 
support.  The  considerations  in  favor  of  Mexico  are  that  the 
Havana  would  be  the  emporium  for  all  the  produce  of  that  im 
mense  and  wealthy  country,  and  of  course,  the  medium  of  all  its 
commerce  ;  that  having  no  ports  on  its  eastern  coast,  Cuba  would 
become  the  depot  of  its  naval  stores  and  strength,  and,  in  effect, 
would,  in  a  great  measure,  have  the  sinews  of  the  government  in 
its  hands.  That  in  favor  of  the  United  States  is  the  fact  that 
three-fourths  of  the  exportations  from  Havana  come  to  the 
United  States,  that  they  are  a  settled  government,  the  power 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  261 

which  can  most  promptly  succor  them,  rising  to  an  eminence 
promising  future  security  ;  and  of  which  they  would  make  a 
member  of  the  sovereignty,  while  as  to  England,  they  would  be 
only  a  colony,  subordinated  to  her  interest,  and  that  there  is  not 
a  man  in  the  island  who  would  not  resist  her  to  the  bitterest  ex 
tremity.  Of  this  last  sentiment  I  had  not  the  least  idea  at  the 
date  of  my  late  letters  to  you.  I  had  supposed  an  English  in 
terest  there  quite  as  strong  as  that  of  the  United  States,  and 
therefore,  that,  to  avoid  war,  and  keep  the  island  open  to  our 
own  commerce,  it  would  be  best  to  join  that  power  in  mutually 
guaranteeing  its  independence.  But  if  there  is  no  danger  of  its 
falling  into  the  possession  of  England,  I  must  retract  an  opinion 
founded  on  an  error  of  fact.  We  are  surely  under  no  obligation 
to  give  her,  gratis,  an  interest  which  she  has  not  ;  and  the  whole 
inhabitants  being  averse  to  her,  and  the  climate  mortal  to  strang 
ers,  its  continued  military  occupation  by  her  would  be  impractic 
able.  It  is  better  then  to  lie  still  in  readiness  to  receive  that 
interesting  incorporation  when  solicited  by  herself.  For,  cer 
tainly,  her  addition  to  our  confederacy  is  exactly  what  is  wanting 
to  round  our  power  as  a  nation  to  the  point  of  its  utmost  interest. 
I  have  thought  it  my  duty  to  acknowledge  my  error  on  this 
occasion,  and  to  repeat  a  truth  before  acknowledged,  that,  re 
tired  as  I  am,  I  know  too  little  of  the  affairs  of  the  world  to  form 
opinions  of  them  worthy  of  any  attention  ;  and  I  resign  myself 
with  reason,  and  perfect  confidence  to  the  care  and  guidance  of 
those  to  whom  the  helm  is  committed.  With  this  assurance,  ac 
cept  that  of  my  constant  and  affectionate  friendship  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  August  2,  1823. 

DEAR  SIR, — A  recent  illness,  from  which  I  am  just  recovering, 
obliges  me  to  borrow  the  pen  of  a  granddaughter  to  acknow 
ledge  the  receipt  of  your  welcome  favor,  of  June  29,  from  New 
York.  I  read  it  with  great  satisfaction.  Occasional  views,  to  be 
relied  on,  of  the  complicated  affairs  of  Europe  are  like  a  good 
observation  at  sea,  which  tells  one  where  they  are,  after  wander- 


ing  through  the  newspapers  till  they  are  bewildered.  I  keep  my 
eye  on  the  cortes  as  my  index,  and  judge  of  everything  by  their 
position  and  proceedings.  I  do  not  readily  despair  of  Spain. 
Their  former  example  proved  them,  and  the  cause  is  the  same, 
their  constitutional  cortes  and  king.  At  any  rate  I  despair  not 
of  Europe.  The  advance  of  mind  which  has  taken  place  every 
where  cannot  retrograde,  and  the  advantages  of  representative 
government  exhibited  in  England  and  America,  and  recently  in 
other  countries,  will  procure  its  establishment  everywhere  in  a 
more  or  less  perfect  form  ;  and  this  will  insure  the  amelioration 
of  the  condition  of  the  world.  It  will  cost  years  of  blood,  and 
be  well  worth  them. 

Here  you  will  not  immediately  see  into  our  political  condition 
which  you  once  understood  so  well.  It  is  not  exactly  what  it 
seems  to  be.  You  will  be  told  that  parties  are  now  all  amal 
gamated  ;  the  wolf  now  dwells  with  the  lamb,  and  the  leopard 
lies  down  with  the  kid.  It  is  true  that  Federalism  has  changed 
its  name  and  hidden  itself  among  us.  Since  the  Hartford  Con 
vention  it  is  deemed  even  by  themselves  a  name  of  reproach. 
In  some  degree,  too,  they  have  varied  their  object.  To  mon- 
archize  this  nation  they  see  is  impossible  ;  the  next  best  thing 
in  their  view  is  to  consolidate  it  into  one  government  as  a  pre 
mier  pas  to  monarchy.  The  party  is  now  as  strong  as  it  ever  has 
been  since  1800.  ;  and,  though  mixed  with  us,  are  to  be  known 
by  their  rallying  together  on  every  question  of  power  in  a  general 
government.  The  judges,  as  before,  are  at  their  head,  and  are 
their  entering  wedge.  Young  men  are  more  easily  seduced  into 
this  principle  than  the  old  one  of  monarchy.  But  you  will  soon 
see  into  this  disguise.  Your  visit  to  this  place  would  indeed  be 
a  day  of  jubilee  :  but  your  age  and  distance  forbid  the  hope. 
Be  this  as  it  will,  I  shall  love  you  forever,  and  rejoice  in  your 
rejoicing,  and  sympathize  in  your  evils.  God  bless  you  and 
have  you  ever  in  his  holy  keeping. 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON,  263 


MONTICELLO  Aug.  2.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  agree  with  you  in  all  the  definitions  of  your  favor 
of  July  22.  of  the  qualificns  necessary  for  the  chair  of  the  US. 
and  I  add  another.  He  ought  to  be  disposed  rigorously  to 
maintain  the  line  of  power  marked  by  the  constitution  between 
the  two  co-ordinate  governments,  each  sovereign  &  independant 
in  it's  department,  the  states  as  to  everything  relating  to  them 
selves  and  their  state,  the  General  government  as  to  everything 
relating  to  things  or  persons  out  of  a  particular  state.  The  one 
may  be  strictly  called  the  Domestic  branch  of  government 
which  is  sectional  but  sovereign,  the  other  the  foreign  branch 
of  government  co-ordinate  with  the  other  domestic  &  equally 
sovereign  on  it's  own  side  of  the  line.  The  federalists,  baffled 
in  their  schemes  to  monarchise  us,  have  given  up  their  name, 
which  the  Hartford  Convention  had  made  odious,  and  have 
taken  shelter  among  us  and  under  our  name.  But  they  have  not 
only  changed  the  point  of  attack.  On  every  question  of  the 
usurpation  of  State  powers  by  the  Foreign  or  Genl  govmt,  the 
same  men  rally  together,  force  the  line  of  demarcation  and  con 
solidate  the  government.  The  judges  are  at  their  head  as  here 
tofore,  and  are  their  entering  wedge.  The  true  old  republicans 
stand  to  the  line,  and  will  I  hope  die  on  it  if  necessary.  Let  our 
next  president  be  aware  of  this  new  party  principle  and  firm  in 
maintaining  the  constitutional  line  of  demarcation.  But  agreeing 
in  your  principles,  I  am  not  sufficiently  acquainted  with  the 
numerous  candidates  to  apply  them  personally.  With  one  I  have 
had  a  long  acquaintance,  but  little  intimate  because  little  in 
political  unison.  With  another  a  short  but  more  favorable 
acquaintance  because  always  in  unison.  With  others  merely 
a  personal  recognition.  Thus  unqualified  to  judge,  I  am  equally 
indisposed  in  my  state  of  retirement,  at  my  age  and  last  stage  of 
debility.  I  ought  not  to  quit  the  port  in  which  I  am  quietly 
moored  to  commit  myself  again  to  the  stormy  ocean  of  political 
or  party  contest,  to  kindle  new  enmities,  and  lose  old  friends. 
No,  my  dear  sir,  tranquility  is  the  summum  bonum  of  old  age, 
and  there  is  a  time  when  it  is  a  duty  to  leave  the  government 

264  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

of  the  world  to  the  existing  generation,  and  to  repose  one's  self 
under  their  protecting  hand.  That  time  is  come  with  me,  and 
I  welcome  it.  A  recent  illness  from  which  I  am  just  recovered 
obliges  me  to  borrow  the  pen  of  a  granddaughter  to  say  these 
things  to  you,  to  assure  you  of  my  continued  esteem  and  respect, 
and  to  request  you  to  recall  me  to  the  friendly  recollections  of 
Mrs.  Smith.1 

TO  GEORGE   HAY.  j.  MSS. 

MONTICELLO  Aug.  I?.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  reed,  yesterday  your  favor  of  the  nth.  It  re 
ferred  to  something  said  to  be  inclosed,  without  saying  what, 
and,  in  fact  nothing  was  inclosed.  But  the  preceding  mail  had 
brot  me  the  Nat.  Intell.  of  the  yth  &  pth  in  which  was  a  very 
able  discussion  on  the  mode  of  electing  our  President  signed 
Phocion.  This  I  suspect  is  what  your  letter  refers  to.  If  I  am 
right  in  this  conjecture,  I  have  no  hesitation  in  saying  that  I 
have  ever  considered  the  constitutional  mode  of  election  ulti 
mately  by  the  legislature  voting  by  states  as  the  most  dangerous 
blot  in  our  constn,  and  one  which  some  unlucky  chance  will 
some  day  hit,  and  give  us  a  pope  &  anti-pope.  I  looked  there- 

1  Of  this  letter  Jefferson  later  wrote  to  Smith  : 

MONTO  Dec.  19.  23. 

Do  not  for  the  world,  my  dear  Sir,  suffer  my  letter  of  Aug.  2.  to  get  before 
the  public,  nor  to  go  out  of  your  own  hands  or  to  be  copied.  I  am  always 
averse  to  the  publication  of  my  letters  because  I  wish  to  be  at  rest,  retired  & 
unnoticed.  But  most  especially  this  letter.  I  never  meant  to  meddle  in  a 
Presidential  election,  and  in  a  letter  to  a  person  in  N.  Y.  written  after  the 
date  of  the  one  to  you  I  declared  that  I  would  take  no  part  in  the  ensuing  one 
and  permitted  him  to  publish  the  letter.  A  thousand  improprieties,  indelica 
cies  &  considns  of  friendship  strongly  felt  by  myself,  forbid  it.  I  am  glad 
you  did  not  name  to  me  those  to  whom  you  had  thought  to  give  a  copy,  be 
cause  not  knowing  who  they  are  my  unwillingness  cannot  be  felt  by  any  as 
proceeding  from  a  want  of  personal  confidence,  but  truly  from  the  motives 
above  stated.  I  hope  the  choice  will  fall  on  some  real  republican,  who  will 
continue  the  admn  on  the  express  principles  of  the  constn  unadulterated  by  con 
structions  reducing  it  to  a  blank  to  be  filled  with  what  every  one  pleases  and 
what  never  was  intended.  With  this  I  shall  be  contented.  Accept  for  your 
self  &  Mrs.  Smith  the  assurances  of  my  affectionate  esteem  &  respect. 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  265 

fore  with  anxiety  to  the  amendment  proposed  by  Colo.  Taylor  at 
the  last  session  of  Congress,  which  I  thought  would  be  a  good 
substitute,  if  on  an  equal  division  of  the  electors  after  a  2d  appeal 
to  them  the  ultimate  decision  between  the  two  highest  had  been 
given  by  it  to  the  legislature  voting  per  capita.  But  the  states 
are  now  so  numerous  that  I  despair  of  ever  seeing  another 
amdmt  to  the  constn,  altho  the  innovns  of  time  will  certainly 
call  and  now  already  call  for  some,  and  especially  the  smaller 
states  are  so  numerous  as  to  render  desperate  every  hope  of 
obtaining  a  sufficient  proportion  of  them  in  favor  of  Phocion's 
proposition.  Another  general  convention  can  alone  relieve  us. 
What  then  is  the  best  palliative  of  the  evil  in  the  mean  time  ? 
Another  short  question  points  to  the  answer.  Would  we  rather 
the  choice  should  be  made  by  the  legislature  voting  in  Congress 
by  states,  or  in  Caucus  per  capita  ?  The  remedy  is  indeed  bad, 
but  the  disease  worse  ! 

But  I  have  long  since  withdrawn  from  attention  to  political 
affairs.  Age  &  debility  render  me  unequal  and  disinclined  to 
them,  and  two  crippled  wrists  to  the  use  of  the  pen.  Peace  with 
all  the  world  and  a  quiet  descent  thro'  the  remainder  of  my  time 
are  now  so  necessary  to  my  happiness  that  I  am  unwilling  by  the 
expression  of  any  opinion  before  the  public  to  rekindle  antient 
animosities,  covered  under  their  ashes  indeed  but  not  extin 
guished.  Yet  altho'  weaned  from  politics,  I  am  not  so  from  the 
love  of  my  friends,  and  to  yourself  particularly  I  can  give  assur 
ance  with  truth  of  my  constant,  and  cordial  affection  &  respect. 


MONTICELLO  Aug.  29.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — On  receipt  of  your  former  letter  of  May  31.  I  com 
municated  it  to  my  gr.  son  Jefferson  Randolph.  On  considn 
of  the  subject  he  was  induced  to  think  that  the  vindicn  of 
Mr.  W.  C.  N.'s  character,  if  it  needed  it  at  all  would  be  particu 
larly  incumbent  on  his  brother  Mr.  Norborne  Nicholas  and  would 
in  his  be  in  more  competent  hands.  He  therefore  communicated 
the  Ire  to  him,  and  referred  to  him  to  act  on  it,  as  he  should 
think  best.  Your  last  letter  of  July  29  came  to  my  hands  of  the 

266  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

2ist  inst.  only.  Jefferson  was  then  absent  on  a  journey  so  that 
I  did  not  see  him  till  the  evening  of  the  27th  when  I  communi 
cated  to  him  this  letter  also.  He  observed  to  me  that  having 
referred  the  whole  matter  to  Mr.  N.  Nicholas  he  was  unwilling 
to  meddle  with  it  at  all.  I  therefore  went  on  the  28th  (yester 
day)  to  Charlsvl.  at  the  hour  prescribed  &  found  there  Mr 
Pollard  with  his  counsel  Mr.  Dyer,  but  no  magistrates.  I  had 
written  my  answers  to  your  interrogatories  &  shewed  them  to  the 
gentlemen,  asking  of  Mr.  Pollard  if  (as  no  magistrates  attended) 
he  would  suffer  them  to  be  read  by  consent.  He  said  he  should 
do  whatever  his  counsel  advised.  I  then  asked  his  counsel,  who 
answered  that  they  could  consent  to  nothing,  at  the  same  time 
acknoleging  that  the  answers  were  such  as  every  man  would  give 
who  knew  anything  of  Colo.  Nicholas.  We  parted  therefore  re 
infecta.  Reflecting  however,  on  my  return  home,  I  became 
sensible  that  you  must  have  depended  either  on  Jef.  Randolph 
or  myself  for  procuring  magistrates  and  was  mortified  that,  on 
their  refusing  consent,  it  did  not  occur  to  me  on  the  instant,  to 
go  out  and  hunt  up  a  couple  of  magistrates.  I  therefore  returned 
to  Charlesvl  early  this  morning,  found  Mr.  Pollard  still  there, 
went  out  &  procured  the  attendee  of  2  magistrates,  and  the 
deposn  was  taken,  and  is  in  the  letter  I  now  enclose  for  the 
clerk  of  your  court.  That  you  may  know  what  it  is  I  return  you 
your  interrogatories  with  the  answers  I  gave  to  them  &  those  of 
the  other  party  with  the  answers  to  them  also  which  I  scribbled 
on  my  knee.  These  were  copied  verbatim  into  the  deposn  with 
out  a  word  more  or  less :  this  will  explain  to  you  why  the  depo 
sition  has  been  taken  this  day  instead  of  yesterday  and  with 
every  wish  which  friendship  can  inspire  for  your  happy  issue  out 
of  this  entanglement,  I  give  assurances  of  my  constant  and  un 
changeable  affection  &  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  August  30,  1823. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  received  the  enclosed  letters  from  the  President 
with  a  request,  that  after  perusal  I  would  forward  them  to  you 
for  perusal  by  yourself  also,  and  to  be  returned  then  to  him. 

1 8a 3]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  267 

You  have  doubtless  seen  Timothy  Pickering's  fourth  of  July 
observations  on  the  Declaration  of  Independence.  If  his  princi 
ples  and  prejudices,  personal  and  political,  gave  us  no  reason  to 
doubt  whether  he  had  truly  quoted  the  information  he  alleges  to 
have  received  from  Mr.  Adams,  I  should  then  say,  that  in  some 
of  the  particulars,  Mr.  Adams'  memory  has  led  him  into  unques 
tionable  error.  At  the  age  of  eighty-eight,  and  forty-seven  years 
after  the  transactions  of  Independence,  this  is  not  wonderful. 
Nor  should  I,  at  the  age  of  eighty,  on  the  small  advantage  of 
that  difference  only,  venture  to  oppose  my  memory  to  his,  were 
it  not  supported  by  written  notes,  taken  by  myself  at  the  mo 
ment  and  on  the  spot.  He  says,  "  the  committee  of  five,  to  wit, 
Dr.  Franklin,  Sherman,  Livingston,  and  ourselves,  met,  discussed 
the  subject,  and  then  appointed  him  and  myself  to  make  the 
draught ;  that  we,  as  a  sub-committee,  met,  and  after  the  urgen 
cies  of  each  on  the  other,  I  consented  to  undertake  the  task  ;  that 
the  draught  being  made,  we,  the  sub-committee,  met,  and  conned 
the  paper  over,  and  he  does  not  remember  that  he  made  or  sug 
gested  a  single  alteration."  Now  these  details  are  quite  incor 
rect.  The  committee  of  five  met ;  no  such  thing  as  a  sub-com 
mittee  was  proposed,  but  they  unanimously  pressed  on  myself 
alone  to  undertake  the  draught.  I  consented  ;  I  drew  it  ;  but  be 
fore  I  reported  it  to  the  committee,  I  communicated  it  separately 
to  Dr.  Franklin  and  Mr.  Adams,  requesting  their  corrections,  be 
cause  they  were  the  two  members  of  whose  judgments  and 
amendments  I  wished  most  to  have  the  benefit,  before  presenting 
it  to  the  committee ;  and  you  have  seen  the  original  paper  now 
in  my  hands,  with  the  corrections  of  Dr.  Franklin  and  Mr.  Adams 
interlined  in  their  own  hand  writings.  Their  alterations  were 
two  or  three  only,  and  merely  verbal.  I  then  wrote  a  fair  copy, 
reported  it  to  the  committee,  and  from  them,  unaltered,  to  Con 
gress.  This  personal  communication  and  consultation  with  Mr. 
Adams,  he  has  misremembered  into  the  actings  of  a  sub-commit 
tee.  Pickering's  observations,  and  Mr.  Adams'  in  addition,  "  that 
it  contained  no  new  ideas,  that  it  is  a  common-place  compilation, 
its  sentiments  hacknied  in  Congress  for  two  years  before,  and  its 
essence  contained  in  Otis'  pamphlet,"  may  all  be  true.  Of  that 
I  am  not  to  be  the  judge.  Richard  Henry  Lee  charged  it  as 

268  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

copied  from  Locke's  treatise  on  government.  Otis'  pamphlet  I 
never  saw,  and  whether  I  had  gathered  my  ideas  from  reading 
or  reflection  I  do  not  know.  I  know  only  that  I  turned  to  neither 
book  nor  pamphlet  while  writing  it.  I  did  not  consider  it  as 
any  part  of  my  charge  to  invent  new  ideas  altogether,  and  to  of 
fer  no  sentiment  which  had  ever  been  expressed  before.  Had 
Mr.  Adams  been  so  restrained,  Congress  would  have  lost  the 
benefit  of  his  bold  and  impressive  advocations  of  the  rights  of 
Revolution.  For  no  man's  confident  and  fervid  addresses,  more 
than  Mr.  Adams',  encouraged  and  supported  us  through  the  diffi 
culties  surrounding  us,  which,  like  the  ceaseless  action  of  gravity 
weighed  on  us  by  night  and  by  day.  Yet,  on  the  same  ground, 
we  may  ask  what  of  these  elevated  thoughts  was  new,  or  can  be 
affirmed  never  before  to  have  entered  the  conceptions  of  man  ? 

Whether,  also,  the  sentiments  of  Independence,  and  the  reasons 
for  declaring  it,  which  make  so  great  a  portion  of  the  instrument, 
had  been  hackneyed  in  Congress  for  two  years  before  the  4th  of 
July,  '76,  or  this  dictum  also  of  Mr.  Adams  be  another  slip  of  me 
mory,  let  history  say.  This,  however,  I  will  say  for  Mr.  Adams, 
that  he  supported  the  Declaration  with  zeal  and  ability,  fighting 
fearlessly  for  every  word  of  it.  As  to  myself,  I  thought  it  a  duty 
to  be,  on  that  occasion,  a  passive  auditor  of  the  opinions  of  others, 
more  impartial  judges  than  I  could  be,  of  its  merits  or  demerits. 
During  the  debate  I  was  sitting  by  Doctor  Franklin,  and  he  ob 
served  that  I  was  writhing  a  little  under  the  acrimonious  criti 
cisms  on  some  of  its  parts  ;  and  it  was  on  that  occasion,  that  by 
way  of  comfort,  he  told  me  the  story  of  John  Thompson,  the 
hatter,  and  his  new  sign. 

Timothy  thinks  the  instrument  the  better  for  having  a  fourth 
of  it  expunged.  He  would  have  thought  it  still  better,  had  the 
other  three-fourths  gone  out  also,  all  but  the  single  sentiment 
(the  only  one  he  approves),  which  recommends  friendship  to  his 
dear  England,  whenever  she  is  willing  to  be  at  peace  with  us. 
His  insinuations  are,  that  although  "  the  high  tone  of  the  instru 
ment  was  in  unison  with  the  warm  feelings  of  the  times,  this 
sentiment  of  habitual  friendship  to  England  should  never  be  for 
gotten,  and  that  the  duties  it  enjoins  should  especially  be  borne 
in  mind  on  every  celebration  of  this  anniversary."  In  other 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  269 

words,  that  the  Declaration,  as  being  a  libel  on  the  government 
of  England,  composed  in  times  of  passion,  should  now  be  buried 
in  utter  oblivion,  to  spare  the  feelings  of  our  English  friends  and 
Angloman  fellow-citizens.  But  it  is  not  to  wound  them  that  we 
wish  to  keep  it  in  mind  ;  but  to  cherish  the  principles  of  the  in 
strument  in  the  bosoms  of  our  own  citizens  :  and  it  is  a  heavenly 
comfort  to  see  that  these  principles  are  yet  so  strongly  felt,  as  to 
render  a  circumstance  so  trifling  as  this  little  lapse  of  memory 
of  Mr.  Adams,  worthy  of  being  solemnly  announced  and  sup 
ported  at  an  anniversary  assemblage  of  the  nation  on  its  birth- 
day.  In  opposition,  however,  to  Mr.  Pickering,  I  pray  God  that 
these  principles  may  be  eternal,  and  close  the  prayer  with  my 
affectionate  wishes  for  yourself  of  long  life,  health  and  happiness. 


MONTICELLO,  September  4,  1823. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  letter  of  August  the  i5th  was 
received  in  due  time,  and  with  the  welcome  of  every 
thing  which  comes  from  you.  With  its  opinions  on 
the  difficulties  of  revolutions  from  despotism  to  free 
dom,  I  very  much  concur.  The  generation  which  com 
mences  a  revolution  rarely  completes  it.  Habituated 
from  their  infancy  to  passive  submission  of  body  and 
mind  to  their  kings  and  priests,  they  are  not  qualified 
when  called  on  to  think  and  provide  for  themselves ; 
and  their  inexperience,  their  ignorance  and  bigotry 
make  them  instruments  often,  in  the  hands  of  the 
Bonapartes  and  Iturbides,  to  defeat  their  own  rights 
and  purposes.  This  is  the  present  situation  of  Eu 
rope  and  Spanish  America.  But  it  is  not  desperate. 
The  light  which  has  been  shed  on  mankind  by  the 
art  of  printing,  has  eminently  changed  the  condition 

270  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

of  the  world.  As  yet,  that  light  has  dawned  on  the 
middling  classes  only  of  the  men  in  Europe.  The 
kings  and  the  rabble,  of  equal  ignorance,  have  not 
yet  received  its  rays  ;  but  it  continues  to  spread,  and 
while  printing  is  preserved,  it  can  no  more  recede 
than  the  sun  return  on  his  course.  A  first  attempt 
to  recover  the  right  of  self-government  may  fail,  so 
may  a  second,  a  third,  &c.  But  as  a  younger  and 
more  instructed  race  comes  on,  the  sentiment  be 
comes  more  and  more  intuitive,  and  a  fourth,  a  fifth, 
or  some  subsequent  one  of  the  ever  renewed  attempts 
will  ultimately  succeed.  In  France,  the  first  effort 
was  defeated  by  Robespierre,  the  second  by  Bona 
parte,  the  third  by  Louis  XVIII.  and  his  holy  allies  : 
another  is  yet  to  come,  and  all  Europe,  Russia  ex- 
cepted,  has  caught  the  spirit ;  and  all  will  attain  re 
presentative  government,  more  or  less  perfect.  This 
is  now  well  understood  to  be  a  necessary  check  on 
kings,  whom  they  will  probably  think  it  more  pru 
dent  to  chain  and  tame,  than  to  exterminate.  To 
attain  all  this,  however,  rivers  of  blood  must  yet  flow, 
and  years  of  desolation  pass  over ;  yet  the  object  is 
worth  rivers  of  blood,  and  years  of  desolation.  For 
what  inheritance  so  valuable,  can  man  leave  to  his 
posterity  ?  The  spirit  of  the  Spaniard,  and  his  deadly 
and  eternal  hatred  to  a  Frenchman,  give  me  much 
confidence  that  he  will  never  submit,  but  finally  de 
feat  this  atrocious  violation  of  the  laws  of  God  and 
man,  under  which  he  is  suffering ;  and  the  wisdom 
and  firmness  of  the  Cortes,  afford  reasonable  hope, 
that  that  nation  will  settle  down  in  a  temperate  re- 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  271 

preservative  government,  with  an  executive  properly 
subordinated  to  that.  Portugal,  Italy,  Prussia,  Ger 
many,  Greece,  will  follow  suit.  You  and  I  shall  look 
down  from  another  world  on  these  glorious  achieve 
ments  to  man,  which  will  add  to  the  joys  even  of 

I  observe  your  toast  of  Mr.  Jay  on  the  4th  of  July, 
wherein  you  say  that  the  omission  of  his  signature  to 
the  Declaration  of  Independence  was  by  accident.  Our 
impressions  as  to  this  fact  being  different,  I  shall  be 
glad  to  have  mine  corrected,  if  wrong.  Jay,  you 
know,  had  been  in  constant  opposition  to  our  labor 
ing  majority.  Our  estimate  at  the  time  was,  that  he, 
Dickinson  and  Johnson  of  Maryland,  by  their  inge 
nuity,  perseverance  and  partiality  to  our  English 
connection,  had  constantly  kept  us  a  year  behind 
where  we  ought  to  have  been  in  our  preparations 
and  proceedings.  From  about  the  date  of  the  Vir 
ginia  instructions  of  May  the  i5th,  1776,  to  declare 
Independence,  Mr.  Jay  absented  himself  from  Con 
gress,  and  never  came  there  again  until  December, 
1 778.  Of  course,  he  had  no  part  in  the  discussions  or 
decision  of  that  question.  The  instructions  to  their 
Delegates  by  the  Convention  of  New  York,  then  sit 
ting,  to  sign  the  Declaration,  were  presented  to  Con 
gress  on  the  1 5th  of  July  only,  and  on  that  day  the 
journals  show  the  absence  of  Mr.  Jay,  by  a  letter  re 
ceived  from  him,  as  they  had  done  as  early  as  the 
29th  of  May  by  another  letter.  And  I  think  he  had 
been  omitted  by  the  convention  on  a  new  election  of 
Delegates,  when  they  changed  their  instructions. 

272  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

Of  this  last  fact,  however,  having  no  evidence  but  an 
ancient  impression,  I  shall  not  affirm  it.  But  whether 
so  or  not,  no  agency  of  accident  appears  in  the  case. 
This  error  of  fact,  however,  whether  yours  or  mine, 
is  of  little  consequence  to  the  public.  But  truth  being 
as  cheap  as  error,  it  is  as  well  to  rectify  it  for  our  own 

I  have  had  a  fever  of  about  three  weeks,  during 
the  last  and  preceding  month,  from  which  I  am  en 
tirely  recovered  except  as  to  strength. 


MONTICELLO,  October  12,  1823. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  do  not  write  with  the  ease  which 
your  letter  of  September  the  i8th  supposes.  Crip 
pled  wrists  and  fingers  make  writing  slow  and  labori 
ous.  But  while  writing  to  you,  I  lose  the  sense  of 
these  things  in  the  recollection  of  ancient  times,  when 
youth  and  health  made  happiness  out  of  everything. 
I  forget  for  a  while  the  hoary  winter  of  age,  when  we 
can  think  of  nothing  but  how  to  keep  ourselves  warm, 
and  how  to  get  rid  of  our  heavy  hours  until  the 
friendly  hand  of  death  shall  rid  us  of  all  at  once. 
Against  this  tedium  vitce,  however,  I  am  fortunately 
mounted  on  a  hobby,  which,  indeed,  I  should  have 
better  managed  some  thirty  or  forty  years  ago ;  but 
whose  easy  amble  is  still  sufficient  to  give  exercise 
and  amusement  to  an  octogenary  rider.  This  is 
the  establishment  of  a  University,  on  a  scale  more 
comprehensive,  and  in  a  country  more  healthy  and 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  273 

central  than  our  old  William  and  Mary,  which  these 
obstacles  have  long  kept  in  a  state  of  languor  and 
inefficiency.  But  the  tardiness  with  which  such 
works  proceed,  may  render  it  doubtful  whether  I 
shall  live  to  see  it  go  into  action. 

Putting  aside  these  things,  however,  for  the  pre 
sent,  I  write  this  letter  as  due  to  a  friendship  coeval 
with  our  government,  and  now  attempted  to  be 
poisoned,  when  too  late  in  life  to  be  replaced  by 
new  affections.  I  had  for  sometime  observed  in  the 
public  papers,  dark  hints  and  mysterious  inuendoes 
of  a  correspondence  of  yours  with  a  friend,  to  whom 
you  had  opened  your  bosom  without  reserve,  and 
which  was  to  be  made  public  by  that  friend  or  his 
representative.  And  now  it  is  said  to  be  actually 
published.  It  has  not  yet  reached  us,  but  extracts 
have  been  given,  and  such  as  seemed  most  likely  to 
draw  a  curtain  of  separation  between  you  and  myself. 
Were  there  no  other  motive  than  that  of  indignation 
against  the  author  of  this  outrage  on  private  confi 
dence,  whose  shaft  seems  to  have  been  aimed  at 
yourself  more  particularly,  this  would  make  it  the 
duty  of  every  honorable  mind  to  disappoint  that  aim, 
by  opposing  to  its  impression  a  seven-fold  shield  of 
apathy  and  insensibility.  With  me,  however,  no  such 
armor  is  needed.  The  circumstances  of  the  times  in 
which  we  have  happened  to  live,  and  the  partiality 
of  our  friends  at  a  particular  period,  placed  us  in  a 
state  of  apparent  opposition,  which  some  might  sup 
pose  to  be  personal  also  ;  and  there  might  not  be 
wanting  those  who  wished  to  make  it  so,  by  filling 

274  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

our  ears  with  malignant  falsehoods,  by  dressing  up 
hideous  phantoms  of  their  own  creation,  presenting 
them  to  you  under  my  name,  to  me  under  yours,  and 
endeavoring  to  instil  into  our  minds  things  concern 
ing  each  other  the  most  destitute  of  truth.  And  if 
there  had  been,  at  any  time,  a  moment  when  we  were 
off  our  guard,  and  in  a  temper  to  let  the  whispers  of 
these  people  make  us  forget  what  we  had  known  of 
each  other  for  so  many  years,  and  years  of  so  much 
trial,  yet  all  men  who  have  attended  to  the  workings 
of  the  human  mind,  who  have  seen  the  false  colors 
under  which  passion  sometimes  dresses  the  actions 
and  motives  of  others,  have  seen  also  those  passions 
subsiding  with  time  and  reflection,  dissipating  like 
mists  before  the  rising  sun,  and  restoring  to  us  the 
sight  of  all  things  in  their  true  shape  and  colors.  It 
would  be  strange  indeed,  if,  at  our  years,  we  were  to 
go  back  an  age  to  hunt  up  imaginary  or  forgotten 
facts,  to  disturb  the  repose  of  affections  so  sweeten 
ing  to  the  evening  of  our  lives.  Be  assured,  my  dear 
Sir,  that  I  am  incapable  of  receiving  the  slightest 
impression  from  the  effort  now  made  to  plant  thorns 
on  the  pillow  of  age,  worth  and  wisdom,  and  to  sow 
tares  between  friends  who  have  been  such  for  near 
half  a  century.  Beseeching  you  then,  not  to  suffer 
your  mind  to  be  disquieted  by  this  wicked  attempt  to 
poison  its  peace,  and  praying  you  to  throw  it  by 
among  the  things  which  have  never  happened,  I  add 
sincere  assurances  of  my  unabated  and  constant  at 
tachment,  friendship  and  respect. 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON,  275 


MONTICELLO  Oct.  1 8.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  return  you  Mr.  Coxe's  letter  which  has  cost  me 
much  time  at  two  or  three  different  attempts  to  decypherit.  Had 
I  such  a  correspondent  I  should  certainly  admonish  him  that  if 
he  would  not  so  far  respect  my  time  as  to  write  to  me  legibly,  I 
should  so  far  respect  it  myself  as  not  to  waste  it  in  decomposing 
and  recomposing  his  hieroglyphics. 

The  jarrings  between  the  friends  of  Hamilton  and  Pickering 
will  be  of  advantage  to  the  cause  of  truth.  It  will  denudate  the 
monarchism  of  the  former  and  justify  our  opposition  to  him,  and 
the  malignity  of  the  latter  which  nullifies  his  testimony  in  all 
•cases  which  his  passion  can  discolor.  God  bless  you,  and  pre 
serve  you  many  years. 


MONTICELLO,  Oct.  19.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  forward  you  the  inclosed  letter  on  the  same 
ground  on  which  it  is  addressed  to  me,  and  not  that  Duane  has 
any  moral  claims  on  us.  His  defection  from  the  republican  ranks, 
his  transition  to  the  Federalists,  and  giving  triumph,  in  an  import 
ant  state,  to  wrong  over  right,  have  dissolved,  of  his  own  seeking, 
his  connection  with  us.  Yet  the  energy  of  his  press,  when  our 
cause  was  laboring,  and  all  but  lost,  under  the  overwhelming 
weight  of  it's  powerful  adversaries,  it's  unquestionable  effect  in 
the  revolution  produced  in  the  public  mind,  which  arrested  the 
rapid  march  of  our  government  towards  monarchy,  overweigh  in 
fact  the  demerit  of  his  desertion,  when  we  had  become  too  strong 
to  suffer  from  it  sensibly.  He  is  in  truth  the  victim  of  passions 
which  his  principles  were  not  strong  enough  to  controul.  Altho 
therefore  we  are  not  bound  to  clothe  him  with  the  best  robe,  to 
put  a  ring  on  his  finger,  and  to  kill  the  fatted  calf  for  him,  yet 
neither  should  we  leave  him  to  eat  husks  with  the  swine.  His 
advocate  may  look  too  high  when  he  talks  of  the  Post  office  ;  but 
if  some  more  secondary  birth  should  be  vacant  (as  Depy  collec 
tor,  Inspector,  Nav.  officer)  something  which  would  feed  and 

276  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1825 

cover  him  decently,  I  am  persuaded  it  would  be  a  gratification  to 
the  old  republicans,  who  do  not  feel  that  all  he  has  done  is  can 
celled  by  one  false  step.  As  to  any  particular  demerits  towards 
yourself,  without  recollecting  them,  I  am  sure  you  were  above 
their  infliction,  &  the  more  so  as  he  was  then  fighting  openly  in 
the  ranks  of  the  enemy.  But  all  this  is  left  to  your  own  feelings 
and  reflection,  being  written  only  'ut  valeat  quantum  valere 
potest.'  Dios  guarde  a  Vm  muchos  anos.1 

1  Jefferson  later  wrote  to  Monroe  : 

MONTO.  July  2.  24. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  took  the  liberty  some  time  last  fall  of  placing  Mr.  Duane 
under  your  notice,  should  anything  occur  adapted  to  his  qualifns  and  to  his 
situation  which  I  understood  to  be  needy  in  the  extreme.  His  talents  and 
informn  are  certainly  great,  and  the  services  he  rendered  us  when  we  needed 
them  and  his  personal  sacrifices  and  sufferings  were  signal  and  efficacious  and 
left  on  us  a  moral  duty  not  to  forget  him  under  misfortune.  His  subsequent 
aberrations  were  after  we  were  too  strong  to  be  injured  by  them.  I  have  lately 
reed,  a  letter  from  him,  which  I  inclose  because  it  will  better  shew  his  pro 
spects  of  distress  and  anxieties  for  relief  than  anything  I  could  say.  Whether 
the  latter  may  too  much  influence  his  reasonable  hopes,  you  are  the  proper 
judge.  If  they  do,  his  former  merits  will  still  claim  a  recollection  on  any 
proper  occasion  which  may  occur.  I  perform  a  duty  in  communicating  his 
wish,  yours  will  be  to  weigh  it's  relations  to  the  public  service.  I  congratulate 
you  on  the  return  of  repose  after  a  campaign  so  agitating  as  the  late  one.  Your 
nephew  who  was  so  kind  as  to  call  on  me  a  day  or  two  ago,  gave  me  hopes  we 
should  see  you  here.  During  the  summer  or  early  autumn  I  have  a  visit  to 
Bedford  in  contempln,  the  time  of  which  is  quite  immaterial,  and  could  I  pre 
viously  know  when  that  of  your  visit  to  Albermarle  will  probably  be,  1  should 
so  arrange  mine  as  not  to  miss  the  pleasure  of  seeing  you  here.  I  salute  you 
with  sincere  &  affectionate  respect. 

He  also  wrote  to  Duane  : 

MONTICELLO  May  31.  24. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  received  a  few  days  ago  a  pamphlet  on  the  subject  of  America, 
England  and  the  Holy  alliance,  and  read  it  with  unusual  interest  and  concur 
rence  of  opn.  It  furnished  a  simple  and  satisfy  key  for  the  solution  of  all  the 
riddles  of  British  conduct  &  policy.  While  considering  and  conjecturing  who 
could  be  its  author,  I  happened  to  cast  my  eye  on  the  few  words  of  superscrip 
tion,  and  th5t  the  handwriting  not  unknown  to  me.  I  turned  to  my  letters  of 
correspdce.  and  found  it's  tally  which  left  me  no  longer  at  a  loss  to  whom  my 
thanks  should  be  addressed,  and  to  return  these  thanks  is  the  object  of  this 
letter.  In  Nov.  last  I  received  a  letter  from  some  friend  of  yours  who  chose  to 
be  anonymous,  suggesting  that  your  situation  might  be  bettered  and  the  govern- 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  277 


MONTICELLO,  October  24,  1823. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  question  presented  by  the  letters  you  have 
sent  me,  is  the  most  momentous  which  has  ever  beea  offered  to 
my  contemplation  sjnce  that  of  Independence.^  That  made  us  > 
nation,  this  sets  our  compass  and  points  the  course  which  we  are 
to  steer  through  the  ocean  of  time  opening  on  us.  And  never 
could  we  embark  on  it  under  circumstances  more  auspicious. 
Our  first  and  fundamental  maxim  should  be,  never  to  entangle 
ourselves  in  the  broils  of  Europe.  Our  second,  never  to  suffer 
Europe  to  intermeddle  with  cis-Atlantic  affairs.  America,  North 
and  South,  has  a  set  of  interests  distinct  from  those  of  Europe, 
and  peculiarly  her  own.  She  should  therefore  have  a  system  of 
her  own,  separate  and  apart  from  that  of  Europe.  While  the  last 
is  laboring  to  become  the  domicil  of  despotism,  our  endeavor 
should  surely  be,  to  make  our  hemisphere  that  of  freedom.  One 
nation,  most  of  all,  could  disturb  us  in  this  pursuit  ;  she  now 
offers  to  lead,  aid,  and  accompany  us  in  it.  By  acceding  to  her 
proposition,  we  detach  her  from  the  bands,  bring  her  mighty 
weight  into  the  scale  of  free  government,  and  emancipate  a  con 
tinent  at  one  stroke,  which  might  otherwise  Linger  long  in  doubt 
and  difficulty.  Great  Britain  is  the  nation  which  can  do  us  the 
most  harm  of  any  one,  or  all  on  earth  ;  and  with  her  on  our  Md« 
we  need  not  fear  the  whole  world.  With  her  then,  we  should 
most  sedulously  cherish  a  cordial Iriend ship  ;  and  nothing  would 
tend  more  to  knit  our  affections  than  to  be  fighting  once  more, 
side  by  side,  in  the  same  cause.  Not  that  I  would  purchase  even 
her  amity  at  the  price  of  taking  part  in  her  wars.  But  the  war 

ment  advantaged  by  availing  itself  of  your  services  in  some  line.  I  immediately 
wrote  to  a  friend  whose  situation  enabled  him  to  attend  to  this.  I  have  received 
no  answer  but  hope  it  is  kept  in  view.  I  am  long  since  withdrawn  from  the 
political  world,  think  little,  read  less,  and  know  all  but  nothing  of  what  is 
going  on  ;  but  I  have  not  forgotten  the  past  nor  those  who  were  fellow-laborers 
in  the  gloomy  hours  of  federal  ascendancy  when  the  spirit  of  republicanism  was 
beaten  down,  its  votaries  arraigned  as  criminals,  and  such  threats  denounced  as 
posterity  would  never  believe.  My  means  of  service  are  slender  ;  but  such  as 
they  are,  if  you  can  make  them  useful  to  you  in  any  sollicitn.  they  shall  be 
sincerely  employed.  In  the  mean  time,  I  assure  you  my  continued  frdshp  & 

278  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [182$ 

in  which  the  present  proposition  might  engage  us,  should  that 
be  its  consequence,  is  not  her  war,  but  ours.  Its  object  is  to 
introduce  and  establish  the  American  system,  of  keeping  out  of 
our  land  all  foreign  powers,  of  never  permitting  those  of  Europe 
to  intermeddle  with  the  affairs  of  our  nations.  It  is  to  maintain 
our  own  principle,  not  to  depart  from  it.  And  if,  to  facilitate 
this,  we  can  effect  a  division  in  the  body  of  the  European  powers, 
and  draw  over  to  our  side  its  most  powerful  member,  surely  we 
should  do  it.  But  I  am  clearly  of  Mr.  Canning's  opinion,  that 
it  will  prevent  instead  of  provoking  war.  With  Great  Britain 
withdrawn  from  their  scale  and  shifted  into  that  of  our  two  con 
tinents,  all  Europe  combined  would  not  undertake  such  a  war. 
For  how  would  they  propose  to  get  at  either  enemy  without  su 
perior  fleets  ?  Nor  is  the  occasion  to  be  slighted  which  this 
proposition  offers,  of  declaring  our  protest  against  the  atrocious 
violations  of  the  rights  of  nations,  by  the  interference  of  any  one 
in  the  internal  affairs  of  another,  so  flagitiously  begun  by  Bona 
parte,  and  now  continued  by  the  equally  lawless  Alliance,  calling 
itself  Holy. 

But  we  have  first  to  ask  ourselves  a  question.  Do  we  wish  to 
acquire  to  our  own  confederacy  any  one  or  more  of  the  Spanish 
provinces  ?  I  candidly  confess,  that  I  have  ever  looked  on  Cuba 
as  the  most  interesting  addition  which  could  ever  be  made  to  our 
system  of  States.  The  control  which,  with  Florida  Point,  this 
island  would  give  us  over  the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  and  the  countries 
and  isthmus  bordering  on  it,  as  well  as  all  those  whose  waters 
flow  into  it,  would  fill  up  the  measure  of  our  political  well-being. 
Yet,  as  I  am  sensible  that  this  can  never  be  obtained,  even  with 
her  own  consent,  but  by  war  ;  and  its  independence,  which  is  our 
second  interest,  (and  especially  its  independence  of  England,)  can 
be  secured  without  it,  I  have  no  hesitation  in  abandoning  my  first 
wish  to  future  chances,  and  accepting  its  independence,  with 
peace  and  the  friendship  of  England,  rather  than  its  association, 
at  the  expense  of  war  and  her  enmity. 

I  could  honestly,  therefore,  join  in  the  declaration  proposed, 
that  we  aim  not  at  the  acquisition  of  any  of  those  possessions, 
that  we  will  not  stand  in  the  way  of  any  amicable  arrangement 
between  them  and  the  mother  country  ;  but  that  we  will  oppose, 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  279 

with  all  our  means,  the  forcible  interposition  of  any  other  power, 
as  auxiliary,  stipendiary,  or  under  any  other  form  or  pretext,  and 
most  especially,  their  transfer  to  any  power  by  conquest,  cession, 
or  acquisition  in  any  other  way.  I  should  think  it,  therefore, 
advisable,  that  the  Executive  should  encourage  the  British  gov 
ernment  to  a  continuance  in  the  dispositions  expressed  in  these 
letters,  by  an  assurance  of  his  concurrence  with  them  as  far  as  his 
authority  goes  ;  and  that  as  it  may  lead  to  war,  the  declaration  of 
which  requires  an  act  of  Congress,  the  case  shall  be  laid  before 
them  for  consideration  at  their  first  meeting,  and  under  the  rea 
sonable  aspect  in  which  it  is  seen  by  himself. 

I  have  been  so  long  weaned  from  political  subjects,  and  have 
so  long  ceased  to  take  any  interest  in  them,  that  I  am  sensible  I 
am  not  qualified  to  offer  opinions  on  them  worthy  of  any  atten 
tion.  But  the  question  now  proposed  involves  consequences  so 
lasting,  and  effects  so  decisive  of  our  future  destinies,  as  to  re 
kindle  all  the  interest  I  have  heretofore  felt  on  such  occasions, 
and  to  induce  me  to  the  hazard  of  opinions,  which  will  prove 
only  my  wish  to  contribute  still  my  mite  towards  anything  which 
may  be  useful  to  our  country.  And  praying  you  to  accept  it  at 
only  what  it  is  worth,  I  add  the  assurance  of  my  constant  and 
affectionate  friendship  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  November  4,  1823. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, — Two  dislocated  wrists  and  crip 
pled  fingers  have  rendered  writing  so  slow  and  labor- 
rious,  as  to  oblige  me  to  withdraw  from  nearly  all 
correspondence  ;  not  however,  from  yours,  while  I 
can  make  a  stroke  with  a  pen.  We  have  gone 
through  too  many  trying  scenes  together,  to  forget 
the  sympathies  and  affections  they  nourished. 

Your  trials  have  indeed  been  long  and  severe. 
When  they  will  end,  is  yet  unknown,  but  where  they 

a8o  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

will  end,  cannot  be  doubted.  Alliances,  Holy  or 
Hellish,  may  be  formed,  and  retard  the  epoch  of 
deliverance,  may  swell  the  rivers  of  blood  which  are 
yet  to  flow,  but  their  own  will  close  the  scene,  and 
leave  to  mankind  the  right  of  self-government.  I 
trust  that  Spain  will  prove,  that  a  nation  cannot  be 
conquered  which  determines  not  to  be  so,  and  that 
her  success  will  be  the  turning  of  the  tide  of  liberty, 
no  more  to  be  arrested  by  human  efforts.  Whether 
the  state  of  society  in  Europe  can  bear  a  republican 
government,  I  doubted,  you  know,  when  with  you, 
and  I  do  now.  A  hereditary  chief,  strictly  limited, 
the  right  of  war  vested  in  the  legislative  body,  a  rigid 
economy  of  the  public  contributions,  and  absolute  in 
terdiction  of  all  useless  expenses,  will  go  far  towards 
keeping  the  government  honest  and  unoppressive.- 
But  the  only  security  of  all  is  in  a  free  press.  The 
force  of  public  opinion  cannot  be  resisted,  when  per 
mitted  freely  to  be  expressed.  The  agitation  it  pro 
duces  must  be  submitted  to.  It  is  necessary,  to  keep 
the  waters  pure. 

We  are  all,  for  example,  in  agitation  even  in  our 
peaceful  country.  For  in  peace  as  well  as  in  war,  the 
mind  must  be  kept  in  motion.  Who  is  to  be  the  next 
President,  is  the  topic  here  of  every  conversation. 
My  opinion  on  that  subject  is  what  I  expressed  to 
you  in  my  last  letter.  The  question  will  be  ulti 
mately  reduced  to  the  northernmost  and  southern 
most  candidate.  The  former  will  get  every  federal 
vote  in  the  Union,  and  many  republicans  ;  the  latter, 
all  of  those  denominated  of  the  old  school ;  for  you  are 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  281 

not  to  believe  that  these  two  parties  are  amalgam 
ated,  that  the  lion  and  the  lamb  are  lying  down  to 
gether.  The  Hartford  Convention,  the  victory  of 
Orleans,  the  peace  of  Ghent,  prostrated  the  name 
of  federalism.  Its  votaries  abandoned  it  through 
shame  and  mortification  ;  and  now  call  themselves 
republicans.  But  the  name  alone  is  changed,  the 
principles  are  the  same.  For  in  truth,  the  parties  of 
Whig  and  Tory,  are  those  of  nature.  They  exist  in 
all  countries,  whether  called  by  these  names,  or  by 
those  of  Aristocrats  and  Democrats,  Cote*  Droite  and 
Cote*  Gauche,  Ultras  and  Radicals,  Serviles,  and  Lib 
erals.  The  sickly,  weakly,  timid  man,  fears  the  peo 
ple,  and  is  a  tory  by  nature.  The  healthy,  strong 
and  bold,  cherishes  them,  and  is  formed  a  whig  by 
nature.  On  the  eclipse  of  federalism  with  us,  al 
though  not  its  extinction,  its  leaders  got  up  the  Mis 
souri  question,  under  the  false  front  of  lessening  the 
measure  of  slavery,  but  with  the  real  view  of  produc 
ing  a  geographical  division  of  parties,  which  might 
insure  them  the  next  President.  The  people  of  the 
north  went  blindfold  into  the  snare,  followed  their 
leaders  for  awhile  with  a  zeal  truly  moral  and  laud 
able,  until  they  became  sensible  that  they  were  injur 
ing  instead  of  aiding  the  real  interests  of  the  slaves, 
that  they  had  been  used  merely  as  tools  for  election 
eering  purposes  ;  and  that  trick  of  hypocrisy  then  fell 
as  quickly  as  it  had  been  got  up.  To  that  is  now 
succeeding  a  distinction,  which,  like  that  of  republican 
and  federal,  or  whig  and  tory,  being  equally  inter 
mixed  through  every  State,  threatens  none  of  those 

282  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

geographical  schisms  which  go  immediately  to  a  sep 
aration.  The  line  of  division  now,  is  the  preserva 
tion  of  State  rights  as  reserved  in  the  constitution,  or 
by  strained  constructions  of  that  instrument,  to  merge 
all  into  a  consolidated  government.  The  tories  are 
for  strengthening  the  executive  and  general  Govern 
ment  ;  the  whigs  cherish  the  representative  branch, 
and  the  rights  reserved  by  the  States,  as  the  bulwark 
against  consolidation,  which  must  immediately  gen 
erate  monarchy.  And  although  this  division  excites, 
as  yet,  no  warmth,  yet  it  exists,  is  well  understood, 
and  will  be  a  principle  of  voting  at  the  ensuing  elec 
tion,  with  the  reflecting  men  of  both  parties. 

I  thank  you  much  for  the  two  books  you  were  so 
kind  as  to  send  me  by  Mr.  Gallatin.  Miss  Wright 
had  before  favored  me  with  the  first  edition  of  her 
American  work ;  but  her  "  Few  days  in  Athens," 
was  entirely  new,  and  has  been  a  treat  to  me  of  the 
highest  order.  The  manner  and  matter  of  the  dia 
logue  is  strictly  ancient ;  and  the  principles  of  the 
sects  are  beautifully  and  candidly  explained  and  con 
trasted  ;  and  the  scenery  and  portraiture  of  the  inter 
locutors  are  of  higher  finish  than  anything  in  that 
line  left  us  by  the  ancients  ;  and  like  Ossian,  if  not 
ancient,  it  is  equal  to  the  best  morsels  of  antiquity. 
I  augur,  from  this  instance,  that  Herculaneum  is 
likely  to  furnish  better  specimens  of  modern  than  of 
ancient  genius  ;  and  may  we  not  hope  more  from  the 
same  pen  ? 

After  much  sickness,  and  the  accident  of  a  broken 
and  disabled  arm,  I  am  again  in  tolerable  health,  but 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  283 

extremely  debilitated,  so  as  to  be  scarcely  able  to 
walk  into  my  garden.  The  hebetude  of  age,  too,  and 
extinguishment  of  interest  in  the  things  around  me, 
are  weaning  me  from  them  and  dispose  me  with  cheer 
fulness  to  resign  them  to  the  existing  generation, 
satisfied  that  the  daily  advance  of  science  will  enable 
them  to  administer  the  commonwealth  with  increased 
wisdom.  You  have  still  many  valuable  years  to  give 
to  your  country,  and  with  my  prayers  that  they  may 
be  years  of  health  and  happiness,  and  especially  that 
they  may  see  the  establishment  of  the  principles  of 
government  which  you  have  cherished  through  life, 
accept  the  assurance  of  my  affectionate  and  constant 
friendship  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO  Nov.  1$.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  return  your  letter  to  the  President  &  that  of  Mr. 
Rush  to  you  with  thanks  for  the  communication.  The  1  matters 
which  Mr.  Rush  states  as  under  considn  with  the  British  govmt 
are  verily  interesting.  But  that  about  the  navigation  of  the  St. 
Lawrence  &  Misspi.  I  would  rather  they  would  let  alone.  The 
navign.  of  the  former,  since  the  N.  Y.  canal,  is  of  too  little  in 
terest  to  be  cared  about,  that  of  the  latter  too  serious  on  account 
of  the  inlet  it  would  give  to  British  smuggling  and  British  tam 
pering  with  the  Indians.  It  would  be  an  entering  wedge  to 
incalculable  mischief,  a  powerful  agent  towds.  separating  the 

1  "  to  wit.    I.  Our  commercial  intercourse  embracing  navign  of  St.  Lawrence 
&  Missipi. 

2.  Suppression  of  slave  trade. 

3.  Northern  boundary. 

4.  Fisheries  on  W.  coast  of  N.  F-land. 

5.  Points  of  Maritime  law. 

6.  Russian  Ukase  as  to  N.  W.  coast  of  America."     T.  J. 

284  THE  WRITINGS  OF                       [1823 

I  send  you  the  rough  draught  of  the  letter  I  propose  to  write 

to  F.  Gilmer  for  your  considn.  and  correction  and  salute  you 


MONTICELLO  Dec  2d  23 

You  have  sent  me,  dear  Sir,  a  noble  animal,  legitimated  by 
superior  force  as  a  monarch  of  the  Forest ;  and  he  has  incurred 
the  death  which  his  brother  legitimates  have  so  much  more 
merited  ;  like  them,  in  death,  he  becomes  food  for  a  nobler  race, 
he  for  man,  they  for  worms  that  will  revel  on  them,  but  he  dies 
innocent,  and  with  death  all  his  fears  and  pains  are  at  an  end  ; 
they  die  loaded  with  maledictions,  and  liable  to  a  sentence  and 
sufferings  which  we  will  leave  to  the  justice  of  heaven  to  award. 

In  plain  english  we  shall  feast  heartily  on  him,  and  thank 
you  heartily  as  the  giver  of  the  feast. 

With  Assurances  of  friendly  esteem  and  respect. 


MONTICELLO,  Dec.  4.  23. 

I  thank  you,  Sir,  for  the  inedited  letter  of  Thos  Paine  which 
you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  me.  I  recognise  in  it  the 
strong  pen  and  dauntless  mind  of  Common  Sense,  which,  among 
the  numerous  pamphlets  written  on  the  same  occasion,  so  pre 
eminently  united  us  in  our  revolutionary  opposition. 

I  return  the  two  numbers  of  the  periodical  paper,  as  they 
appear  to  make  part  of  a  regular  file.  The  language  of  these 
is  too  harsh,  more  calculated  to  irritate  than  to  convince  or  to 
persuade.  A  devoted  friend  myself  to  freedom  of  religious 
enquiry  and  opinion,  I  am  pleased  to  see  others  exercise  the 
right  without  reproach  or  censure ;  and  I  respect  their  conclus 
ions,  however  different  from  my  own.  It  is  their  own  reason, 
not  mine,  nor  that  of  any  other,  which  has  been  given  them  by 
their  creator  for  the  investigation  of  truth,  and  of  the  evidences 
even  of  those  truths  which  are  presented  to  us  as  revealed  by 
himself.  Fanaticism,  it  is  true,  is  not  sparing  of  her  invectives 

1823]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  285 

against  those  who  refuse  blindly  to  follow  her  dictates  in  aban 
donment  of  their  own  reason.  For  the  use  of  this  reason,  how 
ever,  every  one  is  responsible  to  the  God  who  has  planted  it  in 
his  breast,  as  a  light  for  his  guidance,  and  that,  by  which  alone 
he  will  be  judged.  Yet  why  retort  invectives?  It  is  better 
always  to  set  a  good  example  than  to  follow  a  bad  one. 

I  received,  in  due  time,  the  letter  you  mention  of  Jan.  27. 
and  did  not  answer  it,  because  the  pain  of  writing  has  obliged 
me,  for  sometime,  to  withdraw  from  all  correspondence  not  of 
moral  and  indespensable  obligation.  The  duty  of  returning  the 
inclosed  papers  furnishes  the  present  occasion  of  tendering  you 
my  friendly  and  respectful  salutations. 


MONTO  Dec.  ii.  23. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  duly  reed  your  favor  of  the  23d  ult.  as  also  the 
2  pamphlets  you  were  so  kind  as  to  send  me.  That  on  the 
tariff  I  observed  was  soon  reprinted  in  Ritchie's  Enquirer.  I 
was  only  sorry  he  did  not  postpone  it  to  the  meeting  of  Con 
gress  when  it  would  have  got  into  the  hands  of  all  the  members 
and  could  not  fail  to  have  great  effect,  perhaps  a  decisive  one. 
It  is  really  an  extraordinary  proposition  that  the  Agricultural, 
mercantile  &  navigating  classes  should  be  taxed  to  maintain 
that  of  manufactures.  That  the  doctrine  of  materialism  was 
that  of  Jesus  himself  was  a  new  idea  to  me.  Yet  it  is  proved 
unquestionably.  We  all  know  it  was  that  of  some  of  the  early 
Fathers.  I  hope  the  physiological  part  will  follow.  In  spite  of 
the  prevailing  fanaticism  reason  will  make  it's  way.  I  confess 
that  it's  reign  is  at  present  appalling.  General  education  is  the 
true  remedy,  and  that  most  happily  is  now  generally  encouraged. 
The  story  you  mention  as  gotten  up  by  your  opponents  of  my 
having  advised  the  trustees  of  our  University  to  turn  you  out  as 
a  Professor  is  quite  in  their  stile  of  barefaced  mendacity.  They 
find  it  so  easy  to  obliterate  the  reason  of  mankind  that  they 
think  they  may  enterprize  safely  on  his  memory  also.  For  it 
was  the  winter  before  the  last  only  that  our  annual  report  to  the 

286  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1823 

legislature,  printed  in  the  newspapers  stated  the  precise  ground 
on  which  we  relinquished  your  engagement  with  our  Central 
College.  And,  if  my  memory  does  not  deceive  me  it  was  on 
your  own  proposition  that  the  time  of  our  getting  into  operation 
being  postponed  indefinitely,  it  was  important  to  you  not  to  lose 
an  opportunity  of  fixing  yourself  permanently.  And  that  they 
should  father  on  me  too  the  motive  for  this  dismission,  than 
whom  no  man  living  cherishes  a  higher  estimation  of  your  worth, 
talents,  &  information.  But  so  the  world  goes.  Man  is  fed 
with  fables  thro'  life,  leaves  it  in  the  belief  he  has  known  some 
thing  of  what  has  been  passing,  when  in  truth  he  has  known 
nothing  but  what  has  passed  under  his  own  eye.  And  who  are 
the  great  deceivers  ?  Those  who  solemnly  pretend  to  be  the 
depositories  of  the  sacred  truths  of  God  himself.  I  will  not 
believe  that  the  liberality  of  the  state  to  which  you  are  render 
ing  services  in  science  which  no  other  man  in  the  union  is 
qualified  to  render  it,  will  suffer  you  to  be  in  danger  from  a 
set  of  conjurors.  I  note  what  you  say  of  Mr.  Finch  ;  but  the 
moment  of  our  commencement  is  as  indefinite  as  it  ever  was. 
Affectionately  &  respectfully  yours. 


MONTO  Dec.  18.  23. 

DEAR  GENERAL, — The  apology  in  your  letter  of  the  8th  inst 
for  not  calling  on  me  in  your  passage  thro'  our  nbhood  was  quite 
unnecessary.  The  motions  of  a  traveller  are  always  controuled 
by  so  many  imperious  circumstances  that  wishes  and  courte 
sies  must  yield  to  their  sway.  It  was  reported  among  us,  on 
I  know  not  what  authority,  that  you  would  be  in  Charlsvl  on 
the  ist  inst.  on  your  way  to  Congress.  I  went  there  to  have 
the  pleasure  of  paying  you  my  respects,  but  after  staying  some 
hours,  met  with  a  person  lately  from  Staunton  who  assured  me 
you  had  passed  that  place  &  gone  on  by  the  way  of  Winchester.  I 
comforted  myself  then  with  the  French  adage  that  what  is  delayed 
is  not  therefore  lost ;  and  certainly  in  your  passages  to  &  from 
Washington  should  your  travelling  convenience  ever  permit  a 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFEKSON.  287 

deviation  to  Monto.  I  shall  receive  you  with  distinguished  wel 
come.  Perhaps  our  University  which  you  visited  in  it's  unfin 
ished  state  when  finished  &  furnished  with  it's  scientific  popln, 
may  tempt  you  to  make  a  little  stay  with  us.  This  will  probably 
be  by  the  close  of  the  ensuing  year,  when  it  may  appear  to  you 
worthy  of  encouraging  the  youth  of  your  quarter  as  well  as  others 
to  seek  there  the  finishing  complement  of  their  education.  I 
flatter  myself  it  will  assume  a  standing  secondary  to  nothing  in 
our  country.  If  I  live  to  see  this  I  shall  sing  with  cheerfulness 
the  song  of  old  Simeon's  '  nunc  dimittis  Domine.' 

I  recall  with  pleasure  the  remembrance  of  our  joint  labors  while 
in  Senate  together  in  times  of  great  trial  and  of  hard  battling. 
Battles  indeed  of  words,  not  of  blood,  as  those  you  have  since 
fought  so  much  for  your  own  glory  &  that  of  your  country  ;  with 
the  assurance  that  my  attaints  continue  undiminished,  accept 
that  of  my  great  respect  &  considn. 


MONTICELLO,  Jan.  10,  '24. 

Your  affectionate  mother  requests  that  I  would  address  to  you, 
as  a  namesake,  something  which  might  have  a  favorable  influence 
on  the  course  of  life  you  have  to  run.  Few  words  are  necessary, 
with  good  dispositions  on  your  part.  Adore  God ;  reverence 
and  cherish  your  parents ;  love  your  neighbor  as  yourself,  and 
your  country  more  than  life.  Be  just ;  be  true  ;  murmur  not  at 
the  ways  of  Providence — and  the  life  into  which  you  have  entered 
will  be  one  of  eternal  and  ineffable  bliss.  Ann  if  to  the  dead  it 
is  permitted  to  care  for  the  things  of  this  world,  every  action  of 
your  life  will  be  under  my  regard.  Farewell. 


MONTICELLO  Jan.  18.  24. 

I  thank  you,  Sir,  for  the  copy  you  were  so  kind  as  to  send  me 
of  the  revd.  Mr.  Bancroft's  Unitarian  sermons.  I  have  read 
them  with  great  satisfaction,  and  always  rejoice  in  efforts  to  re- 

1  From  the  Historical  Magazine,  xviii. .  50. 

288  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

store  us  to  primitive  Christianity,  in  all  the  simplicity  in  which  it 
came  from  the  lips  of  Jesus.  Had  it  never  been  sophisticated 
by  the  subtleties  of  Commentators,  nor  paraphrased  into  mean 
ings  totally  foreign  to  it's  character,  it  would  at  this  day  have 
been  the  religion  of  the  whole  civilized  world.  But  the  meta 
physical  abstractions  of  Athanasius,  and  the  maniac  ravings  of 
Calvin,  tinctured  plentifully  with  the  foggy  dreams  of  Plato,  have 
so  loaded  it  with  absurdities  and  incomprehensibilities,  as  to  drive 
into  infidelity  men  who  had  not  time,  patience,  or  opportunity  to 
strip  it  of  it's  meretricious  trappings,  and  to  see  it  in  all  it's  na 
tive  simplicity  and  purity.  I  trust  however  that  the  same  free 
exercise  of  private  judgment  which  gave  us  our  political  reforma 
tion  will  extend  it's  effects  to  that  of  religion,  which  the  present 
volume  is  well  calculated  to  encourage  and  promote. 

Not  wishing  to  give  offence  to  those  who  differ  from  me  in 
opinion,  nor  to  be  implicated  in  a  theological  controversy,  I  have 
to  pray  that  this  letter  may  not  get  into  print,  and  to  assure  you 
of  my  great  respect  and  good  will. 


MONTICELLO  Jan.  26.  24. 

SIR, — I  have  read  with  much  satisfaction  the  Sermon  of  Mr. 
Pierpoint  which  you  have  been  so  kind  as  to  send  to  me,  and  am 
much  pleased  with  the  spirit  of  brotherly  forbearance  in  matters 
of  religion  which  it  breathes,  and  the  sound  distinction  it  incul 
cates  between  the  things  which  belong  to  us  to  judge,  and  those 
which  do  not.  If  all  Christian  sects  would  rally  to  the  Sermon 
on  the  mount,  make  that  the  central  point  of  Union  in  religion, 
and  the  stamp  of  genuine  Christianity,  (since  it  gives  us  all  the 
precepts  of  our  duties  to  one  another)  why  should  we  further  ask, 
with  the  text  of  our  sermon  '  What  think  ye  of  Christ  ? '  And  if 
one  should  answer  '  he  is  a  member  of  the  God-head,'  another 
'  he  is  a  being  of  eternal  pre-existence,'  a  third  '  he  was  a  man 
divinely  inspired,'  a  fourth  '  he  was  the  Herald  of  truths  reforma 
tory  of  the  religions  of  mankind  in  general,  but  more  immediately 
of  that  of  his  own  countrymen,  impressing  them  with  more  sub- 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  289 

lime  and  more  worthy  ideas  of  the  Supreme  being,  teaching 
them  the  doctrine  of  a  future  state  of  rewards  and  punishments, 
and  inculcating  the  love  of  mankind,  instead  of  the  anti-social 
spirit  with  which  the  Jews  viewed  all  other  nations/  what  right, 
or  what  interest  has  either  of  these  respondents  to  claim  pre-emi 
nence  for  his  dogma,  and,  usurping  the  judgment-seat  of  God,  to 
condemn  all  the  others  to  his  wrath  ?  In  this  case,  I  say  with  the 
wiser  heathen  'deorum  injuriae,  diis  curse.' 

You  press  me  to  consent  to  the  publication  of  my  sentiments 
and  suppose  they  might  have  effect  even  on  Sectarian  bigotry. 
But  have  they  not  the  Gospel  ?  If  they  hear  not  that,  and  the 
charities  it  teacheth,  neither  will  they  be  persuaded  though  one 
rose  from  the  dead.  Such  is  the  malignity  of  religious  antipa 
thies  that,  altho'  the  laws  will  no  longer  permit  them,  with  Calvin, 
to  burn  those  who  are  not  exactly  of  their  Creed,  they  raise  the 
Hue  &  cry  of  Heresy  against  them,  place  them  under  the  ban  of 
public  opinion,  and  shut  them  out  from  all  the  kind  affections  of 
society.  I  must  pray  permission  therefore  to  continue  in  quiet 
during  the  short  time  remaining  to  me  :  and,  at  a  time  of  life  when 
the  afflictions  of  the  body  weigh  heavily  enough,  not  to  superadd 
those  which  corrode  the  spirit  also,  and  might  weaken  it's  resig 
nation  to  continuance  in  a  joyless  state  of  being  which  providence 
may  yet  destine.  With  these  sentiments  accept  those  of  good 
will  and  respect  to  yourself. 


MONTICELLO,  February  4,  1824. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  duly  received  your  favor  of  the  i3th,  and  with 
it,  the  last  number  of  the  North  American  Review.  This  has 
anticipated  the  one  I  should  receive  in  course,  but  have  not  yet 
received,  under  my  subscription  to  the  new  series.  The  article 
on  the  African  colonization  of  the  people  of  color,  to  which  you 
invite  my  attention,  I  have  read  with  great  consideration.  It  is, 
indeed,  a  fine  one,  and  will  do  much  good.  I  learn  from  it  more, 
too,  than  I  had  before  known,  of  the  degree  of  success  and  prom 
ise  of  that  colony. 

VOL.  X.— 19 

29o  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

In  the  disposition  of  these  unfortunate  people,  there  are  two 
rational  objects  to  be  distinctly  kept  in  view.  First.  The  es 
tablishment  of  a  colony  on  the  coast  of  Africa,  which  may  intro 
duce  among  the  aborigines  the  arts  of  cultivated  life,  and  the 
blessings  of  civilization  and  science.  By  doing  this,  we  may 
make  to  them  some  retribution  for  the  long  course  of  injuries  we 
have  been  committing  on  their  population.  And  considering 
that  these  blessings  will  descend  to  the  "  nati  natorum,  et  qui 
nascentur  ab  illis"  we  shall  in  the  long  run  have  rendered  them 
perhaps  more  good  than  evil.  To  fulfil  this  object,  the  colony 
of  Sierra  Leone  promises  well,  and  that  of  Mesurado  adds  to  our 
prospect  of  success.  Under  this  view,  the  colonization  society 
is  to  be  considered  as  a  missionary  society,  having  in  view,  how 
ever,  objects  more  humane,  more  justifiable,  and  less  aggressive 
on  the  peace  of  other  nations,  than  the  others  of  that  appellation. 

The  second  object,  and  the  most  interesting  to  us,  as  coming 
home  to  our  physical  and  moral  characters,  to  our  happiness  and 
safety,  is  to  provide  an  asylum  to  which  we  can,  by  degrees,  send 
the  whole  of  that  population  from  among  us,  and  establish  them 
under  our  patronage  and  protection,  as  a  separate,  free  and  inde 
pendent  people,  in  some  country  and  climate  friendly  to  human 
life  and  happiness.  That  any  place  on  the  coast  of  Africa  should 
answer  the  latter  purpose,  I  have  ever  deemed  entirely  impossible. 
And  without  repeating  the  other  arguments  which  have  been  urged 
by  others,  I  will  appeal  to  figures  only,  which  admit  no  contro 
versy.  I  shall  speak  in  round  numbers,  not  absolutely  accurate, 
yet  not  so  wide  from  truth  as  to  vary  the  result  materially. 
There  are  in  the  United  States  a  million  and  a  half  of  people  of 
color  in  slavery.  To  send  off  the  whole  of  these  at  once,  no 
body  conceives  to  be  practicable  for  us,  or  expedient  for  them. 
Let  us  take  twenty-five  years  for  its  accomplishment,  within 
which  time  they  will  be  doubled.  Their  estimated  value  as  prop 
erty,  in  the  first  place,  (for  actual  property  has  been  lawfully 
vested  in  that  form,  and  who  can  lawfully  take  it  from  the  pos 
sessors  ?)  at  an  average  of  two  hundred  dollars  each,  young  and 
old,  would  amount  to  six  hundred  millions  of  dollars,  which  must 
be  paid  or  lost  by  somebody.  To  this,  add  the  cost  of  their 
transportation  by  land  and  sea  to  Mesurado,  a  year's  provision  of 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  291 

food  and  clothing,  implements  of  husbandry  and  of  their  trades, 
which  will  amount  to  three  hundred  millions  more,  making 
thirty-six  millions  of  dollars  a  year  for  twenty-five  years,  with 
insurance  of  peace  all  that  time,  and  it  is  impossible  to  look  at 
the  question  a  second  time.  I  am  aware  that  at  the  end  of  about 
sixteen  years,  a  gradual  detraction  from  this  sum  will  commence, 
from  the  gradual  diminution  of  breeders,  and  go  on  during  the 
remaining  nine  years.  Calculate  this  deduction,  and  it  is  still 
impossible  to  look  at  the  enterprise  a  second  time.  I  do  not  say 
this  to  induce  an  inference  that  the  getting  rid  of  them  is  forever 
impossible.  For  that  is  neither  my  opinion  nor  my  hope.  But 
only  that  it  cannot  be  done  in  this  way.  There  is,  I  think,  a 
way  in  which  it  can  be  done  ;  that  is,  by  emancipating  the  after- 
born,  leaving  them,  on  due  compensation,  with  their  mothers, 
until  their  services  are  worth  their  maintenance,  and  then  put 
ting  them  to  industrious  occupations,  until  a  proper  age  for  de 
portation.  This  was  the  result  of  my  reflections  on  the  subject 
five  and  forty  years  ago,  and  I  have  never  yet  been  able  to  con 
ceive  any  other  practicable  plan.  It  was  sketched  in  the  Notes 
on  Virginia,  under  the  fourteenth  query.  The  estimated  value 
of  the  new-born  infant  is  so  low,  (say  twelve  dollars  and  fifty 
cents,)  that  it  would  probably  be  yielded  by  the  owner  gratis, 
and  would  thus  reduce  the  six  hundred  millions  of  dollars,  the 
first  head  of  expense,  to  thirty-seven  millions  and  a  half ;  leaving 
only  the  expense  of  nourishment  while  with  the  mother,  and 
of  transportation.  And  from  what  fund  are  these  expenses  to 
be  furnished  ?  Why  not  from  that  of  the  lands  which  have 
been  ceded  by  the  very  States  now  needing  this  relief  ?  And 
ceded  on  no  consideration,  for  the  most  part,  but  that  of  the  gen 
eral  good  of  the  whole.  These  cessions  already  constitute  one 
fourth  of  the  States  of  the  Union.  It  may  be  said  that  these 
lands  have  been  sold  ;  are  now  the  property  of  the  citizens  com 
posing  those  States  ;  and  the  money  long  ago  received  and  ex 
pended.  But  an  equivalent  of  lands  in  the  territories  since 
acquired,  maybe  appropriated  to  that  object,  or  so  much,  at  least, 
as  may  be  sufficient ;  and  the  object,  although  more  important 
to  the  slave  States,  is  highly  so  to  the  others  also,  if  they  were 
serious  in  their  arguments  on  the  Missouri  question.  The  slave 

292  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

States,  too,  if  more  interested,  would  also  contribute  more  by 
their  gratuitous  liberation,  thus  taking  on  themselves  alone  the 
first  and  heaviest  item  of  expense. 

In  the  plan  sketched  in  the  Notes  on  Virginia,  no  particular 
place  of  asylum  was  specified  ;  because  it  was  thought  possible, 
that  in  the  revolutionary  state  of  America,  then  commenced, 
events  might  open  to  us  some  one  within  practicable  distance. 
This  has  now  happened.  St.  Domingo  has  become  independent, 
and  with  a  population  of  that  color  only  ;  and  if  the  public  papers 
are  to  be  credited,  their  Chief  offers  to  pay  their  passage,  to  re 
ceive  them  as  free  citizens,  and  to  provide  them  employment. 
This  leaves,  then,  for  the  general  confederacy,  no  expense  but  of 
nurture  with  the  mother  a  few  years,  and  would  call,  of  course, 
for  a  very  moderate  appropriation  of  the  vacant  lands.  Suppose 
the  whole  annual  increase  to  be  of  sixty  thousand  effective  births, 
fifty  vessels,  of  four  hundred  tons  burthen  each,  constantly  em 
ployed  in  that  short  run,  would  carry  off  the  increase  of  every 
year,  and  the  old  stock  would  die  off  in  the  ordinary  course  of 
nature,  lessening  from  the  commencement  until  its  final  disap 
pearance.  In  this  way  no  violation  of  private  right  is  proposed. 
Voluntary  surrenders  would  probably  come  in  as  fast  as  the  means 
to  be  provided  for  their  care  would  be  competent  to  it.  Looking 
at  my  own  State  only,  and  I  presume  not  to  speak  for  the  others, 
I  verily  believe  that  this  surrender  of  property  would  not  amount 
to  more,  annually,  than  half  our  present  direct  taxes,  to  be  con 
tinued  fully  about  twenty  or  twenty-five  years,  and  then  gradually 
diminishing  for  as  many  more  until  their  final  extinction  ;  and 
even  this  half  tax  would  not  be  paid  in  cash,  but  by  the  delivery 
of  an  object  which  they  have  never  yet  known  or  counted  as  part 
of  their  property  ;  and  those  not  possessing  the  object  will  be  called 
on  for  nothing.  I  do  not  go  into  all  the  details  of  the  burthens 
and  benefits  of  this  operation.  And  who  could  estimate  its  blessed 
effects  ?  I  leave  this  to  those  who  will  live  to  see  their  accom 
plishment,  and  to  enjoy  a  beatitude  forbidden  to  my  age.  But  I 
leave  it  with  this  admonition,  to  rise  and  be  doing.  A  million 
and  a  half  are  within  their  control  ;  but  six  millions,  (which  a 
majority  of  those  now  living  will  see  them  attain,)  and  one  mil 
lion  of  these  fighting  men,  will  say,  "  we  will  not  go." 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  293 

I  am  aware  that  this  subject  involves  some  constitutional  scru 
ples.  But  a  liberal  construction,  justified  by  the  object,  may  go 
far,  and  an  amendment  of  the  constitution,  the  whole  length  ne 
cessary.  The  separation  of  infants  from  their  mothers,  too,  would 
produce  some  scruples  of  humanity.  But  this  would  be  straining 
at  a  gnat,  and  swallowing  a  camel. 

I  am  much  pleased  to  see  that  you  have  taken  up  the  subject 
of  the  duty  on  imported  books.  I  hope  a  crusade  will  be  kept 
up  against  it,  until  those  in  power  shall  become  sensible  of  this 
stain  on  our  legislation,  and  shall  wipe  it  from  their  code,  and  from 
the  remembrance  of  man,  if  possible. 

I  salute  you  with  assurances  of  high  respect  and  esteem. 


MONTO.  Feb.  5.  24. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  inclosed  letter  is  from  a  person  entirely  un 
known  to  me.  Yet  it  seems  to  expect  a  confidence  which  pru 
dence  cannot  give  to  a  stranger,  and  as  he  seems  to  write  under 
your  authority  I  take  the  liberty  of  confiding  my  answer  to 
yourself  directly  &  of  returning  his  paper  to  you.  I  do  not  know 
that  the  publicn  of  the  papers  of  the  old  Congress  could  be  ob 
jected  to,  except  such  as  might  contain  personalities  of  no  conse 
quence  to  history.  But  care  should  be  taken  that  they  should  be 
impartially  published  and  not  all  on  one  side.  We  have  seen  how 
false  a  face  may  be  given  to  history  by  the  garbling  of  documents. 
And  even  during  the  old  Congress  and  in  it's  body  we  had  our 
whigs  &  tories.  Mr.  Wagner  says  that  for  the  present  he  ackno- 
leges  no  party,  and  supposes  his  continuance  in  office  during  6 
y.  of  my  admn  a  proof  of  his  fidelity  and  impartiality  even  while 
he  was  a  party  man.  But  every  one  knows  that  the  clerks  of  the 
offices  had  been  appd  under  federal  heads '  and  that  I  never 
medled  with  none  of  them.  His  conversion  from  vehemence  to 
neutrality,  having  taken  place  only  since  his  withdrawing  from 
the  Editorship  of  the  Baltimore  Federalist,  the  proofs  of  it  have 

1  "  Who  appd  federalists  only  and  exclusively,  that  the  whole  mass  of  them 
were  federal."—/1.  J. 

294  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

not  yet  reached  our  part  of  the  country.  Yet  his  word  need  not 
be  doubted  farther  than  as  we  all  believe  ourselves  neutral.  He  is 
certainly  capable  of  the  task,  and  has  the  advge  of  being  familiar 
with  the  arrangmt  of  the  papers,  yet  not  more  so  than  the  gentle 
men  now  in  that  office  &  who  have  been  longer  in  it  than  he  was. 
On  the  whole  my  opinion  is  fable  to  the  publicn  when  it  can  be 
fairly  made  but  that  it's  want  is  not  so  pressing  but  that  it  is  bet 
ter  to  let  it  wait  till  it  can  be  so  done  as  to  give  to  history  it's 
true  face. 

I  shall  be  among  those  most  rejoiced  at  seeing  La  Fayette 
again.  But  I  hope  Congress  is  prepared  to  go  thro'  with  their 
compliment  worthily.  That  they  do  not  mean  to  invite  him 
merely  to  dine,  that  provision  will  be  made  for  his  expences  here^ 
which  you  know  he  cannot  afford,  and  that  they  will  not  send 
him  back  empty  handed.  This  would  place  us  under  indelible 
disgrace  in  Europe.  Some  3.  or  4.  good  townships,  in  Missouri, 
or  Louisiana  or  Alabama  &c.  should  be  in  readiness  for  him,  and 
may  restore  his  family  to  the  opulence  which  his  virtues  have  lost 
to  them.  I  suppose  the  time  of  the  visit  will  be  left  to  himself, 
as  the  death  of  Louis  XVIII  which  has  probably  taken  place  or 
soon  must  do  will  produce  a  crisis  in  his  own  country  from  which 
he  could  not  absent  himself  by  a  visit  of  compliment.  Ever  & 
affectly  yours. 


MONTICELLO,  February  14,  1824. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  to  thank  you  for  the  copy  of  Colonel  Tay 
lor's  New  Views  of  the  Constitution,  and  shall  read  them  with 
the  satisfaction  and  edification  which  I  have  ever  derived  from 
whatever  he  has  written.  But  I  fear  it  is  the  voice  of  one  crying 
in  the  wilderness.  Those  who  formerly  usurped  the  name  of 
federalists,  which,  in  fact,  they  never  were,  have  now  openly 
abandoned  it,  and  are  as  openly  marching  by  the  road  of  con 
struction,  in  a  direct  line  to  that  consolidation  which  was  always 
their  real  object.  They,  almost  to  a  man,  are  in  possession  of 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  295 

one  branch  of  the  government,  and  appear  to  be  very  strong  in 
yours.  The  three  great  questions  of  amendment  now  before 
you,  will  give  the  measure  of  their  strength.  I  mean,  ist,  the 
limitation  of  the  term  of  the  presidential  service  ;  2d,  the  placing 
the  choice  of  president  effectually  in  the  hands  of  the  people ; 
3d,  the  giving  to  Congress  the  power  of  internal  improvement, 
on  condition  that  each  State's  federal  proportion  of  the  monies 
so  expended,  shall  be  employed  within  the  State.  The  friends 
of  consolidation  would  rather  take  these  powers  by  construction 
than  accept  them  by  direct  investiture  from  the  States.  Yet,  as 
to  internal  improvement  particularly,  there  is  probably  not  a 
State  in  the  Union  which  would  not  grant  the  power  on  the  con 
dition  proposed,  or  which  would  grant  it  without  that. 

The  best  general  key  for  the  solution  of  questions  of  power 
between  our  governments,  is  the  fact  that  "  every  foreign  and 
federal  power  is  given  to  the  federal  government,  and  to  the 
States  every  power  purely  domestic."  I  recollect  but  one  in 
stance  of  control  vested  in  the  federal,  over  the  State  authorities 
in  a  matter  purely  domestic,  which  is  that  of  metallic  tenders. 
The  federal  is,  in  truth,  our  foreign  government,  which  depart 
ment  alone  is  taken  from  the  sovereignty  of  the  separate  States. 

The  real  friends  of  the  constitution  in  its  federal  form,  if  they 
wish  it  to  be  immortal,  should  be  attentive,  by  amendments,  to 
make  it  keep  pace  with  the  advance  of  the  age  in  science  and 
experience.  Instead  of  this,  the  European  governments  have  re. 
sisted  reformation,  until  the  people,  seeing  no  other  resource,  un 
dertake  it  themselves  by  force,  their  only  weapon,  and  work  it 
out  through  blood,  desolation  and  long-continued  anarchy.  Here 
it  will  be  by  large  fragments  breaking  off,  and  refusing  re-union 
but  on  condition  of  amendment,  or  perhaps  permanently.  If  I 
can  see  these  three  great  amendments  prevail,  I  shall  consider  it 
as  a  renewed  extension  of  the  term  of  our  lease,  shall  live  in 
more  confidence,  and  die  in  more  hope.  And  I  do  trust  that  the 
republican  mass,  which  Colonel  Taylor  justly  says  is  the  real 
federal  one,  is  still  strong  enough  to  carry  these  truly  federo-re- 
publican  amendments.  With  my  prayers  for  the  issue,  accept 
my  friendly  and  respectful  salutations. 

296  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 


MONTO.  Feb.  20.  24. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  multiplied  sollicitns  to  interest  myself  with 
you  for  applicants  for  office  have  been  uniformly  refused  by  me. 
In  a  few  cases  only  where  facts  have  been  within  my  knolege,  I 
have  not  been  able  to  refuse  stating  them  as  a  witness,  which  I 
have  made  it  a  point  to  do  so  drily  as  that  you  might  understand 
that  I  took  no  particular  interest  in  the  case.  In  a  conversn 
with  you  however  at  the  Oakhill  some  two  or  three  years  ago,  I 
mentioned  to  you  that  there  would  be  one  single  case,  and  but 
one  in  the  whole  world  into  which  I  should  go  with  my  whole 
heart  and  soul,  and  ask  as  if  it  were  for  myself.  It  was  that  when 
ever  the  Post  office  or  Collector's  office  at  Richmd.  either  of  them 
should  become  vacant,  you  would  name  Colo.  B.  Peyton  to  it,  and 
preferably  to  the  P.  O.  if  both  were  to  be  vacant.  The  incumbents 
have  for  years  been  thought  ready  for  their  exit,  and  Foushee 
stated  to  be  now  at  death's  door,  yet  I  would  not  ask  this  were 
there  a  man  in  the  world  more  capable,  more  diligent  or  more 
honest  than  Peyton,  one  of  higher  worth  or  more  general  favor  or 
to  whom  I  would  give  it  myself  in  preference  to  him.  He  is  all 
this,  and  I  will  be  responsible  that  his  nomination  will  not  only 
be  a  general  gratificn,  but  I  believe  a  more  general  one  than  any 
other  not  only  to  the  vicinage  but  to  the  legislature  &  to  the  state 
for  he  is  very  generally  known  having  been  a  captain  in  the  late 
war  and  since  that  a  Commn  merch.  of  uncommon  esteem.  To 
me  it  will  be  a  supreme  gratifn  for  I  look  on  him  with  almost  the 
eyes  of  a  father.  I  know  you  will  be  most  strongly  sollicited  for 
others,  and  those  too  of  unexceptionable  merit  and  great  interest. 
I  will  say  boldly  however  for  no  one  who  will  execute  the  office 
more  faithfully  &  diligently  or  with  more  comity  than  Peyton.1 
Grant  me  this,  and  as  I  never  have,  so  I  never  will  again  put  your 
friendship  to  the  trial  as  for  myself.  I  inform  Peyton  that  I  have 

1  As  regards  this  appointment,  Jefferson  wrote  Richard  Rush  : 
"  Among  the  duties  of  your  present  station  you  will  find  the  most  painful  to 
be  that  of  appmt  to  office.  To  20  applicns  19.  negatives  must  be  given,  and 
what  word  in  our  language  is  so  difficult  to  be  pronounced  as  no  ?  On  retiremt 
from  office  myself,  knowing  how  much  I  should  be  harrassed  to  sollicit  for 
others,  I  came  to  a  determination  to  say  no  at  once,  and  to  all.  I  could  not  in- 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  297 

written  to  you,  and  desire  him  at  the  moment  of  the  occurrence  to 
address  a  letter  to  yourself  directly  that  no  time  may  be  lost  by  it's 
passing  thro'  me,  for  not  a  moment  will  be  lost  by  others,  and  the 
earlier  the  notice  to  you,  the  sooner  you  may  be  able  to  preclude 
other  importunities.  I  salute  you  with  constant  affection  &  respect. 

deed  refuse  to  say  when  required  what  I  knew  of  an  applicant,  but  made  it  a 
point  to  accompany  that  with  no  request  or  sollicitn  from  myself.  I  departed 
from  my  rule  in  one  case  only.  I  asked  but  did  not  obtain.  It  was  for  Colo.  B. 
Peyton  of  Richmond  for  whom  I  entertained  a  very  sincere  frdshp.  He 
was  a  meritorious  officer  in  our  late  war,  honest,  capable,  active  and  attentive 
to  business,  kind  to  all,  and  beloved  by  all,  with  a  family  fast  growing  on  his 
hands  and  nothing  to  provide  for  them  but  his  own  industry.  His  line  was  that 
of  commns  business  which  he  still  follows.  Particular  circumstances  had  inter 
ested  me  highly  in  his  favor.  There  were  two  offices  in  Richmd  either  of 
which  would  have  put  him  at  ease.  The  one  was  that  of  P.  M.  the  incumbent 
of  which  had  recently  died,  and  I  asked  it  for  him  with  the  same  earnestness  as 
if  for  myself  and  on  the  ground  of  my  having  never  before  asked  anything  from 
thegovmt  personally.  It  was  given  to  another.  The  other  office  is  that  of  the 
collector  of  the  port  of  Richmd.  now  held  by  Majr.  Gibson,  as  worthy  a  man 
as  could  hold  it,  and  one  whom  no  one  would  ever  wish  to  see  withdrawn.  But 
he  is  now  advanced  in  years  and  in  a  very  low  state  of  health.  He  is  at  pres 
ent  gone  to  the  springs  to  recruit  if  possible  and  I  wish  he  may,  but  it  is  not 
expected.  Should  anything  happen  to  him  it  would  be  a  2d  chance  given  me 
of  getting  something  done  for  my  friend  Peyton.  This  is  within  your  deptmt, 
and  to  you  therefore  I  address  my  request  to  think  of  him  on  that  event,  and  if 
no  moral  considn  gives  a  higher  claim  to  any  other,  give  it  to  him,  if  only  for 
my  sake.  Notwithstdg  Gibson's  ill  health  however  my  own  and  my  age  gives 
me  no  right  to  expect  to  be  the  survivor  of  the  two.  In  that  case  I  bequeath 
my  friend  as  a  legacy  to  you.  And  I  pray  you  to  be  assured  of  my  best  affec 
tion  &  respect." 

He  seems  to  have  felt  this  refusal  keenly,  for  he  had  previously  written  to 
Leiper : 

"  MONTO  [Oct.  27,  24]. 

"  My  GOOD  FRIEND, — Since  my  solicitation  of  July  22.  at  your  request  the 
ground  on  which  I  stand  is  entirely  changed,  and  it  is  become  impossible  forme 
to  ask  anything  further  from  the  govmt.  I  cannot  explain  this  to  you,  and 
even  request  you  not  to  mention  the  fact.  I  should  not  have  said  it  to  you,  but 
that  I  cannot  offer  you  false  excuses.  My  frdshp  for  you  is  the  same,  but  this 
method  of  proving  it  is  no  longer  in  my  power.  Be  assured  of  my  constant  & 
affect6  attmt." 

See  also  the  letter  to  Monroe  of  July  18,  1824,  and  to  Leiper  of  Dec.  6, 1824. 

298  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 


MONTICELLO  Mar.  27.  24. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  receive  Mr.  Livingston's  question  through  you 
with  kindness  and  answer  it  without  hesitation.  He  may  be  as 
sured  I  have  not  a  spark  of  unfriendly  feeling  towards  him.  In 
all  the  earlier  scenes  of  life  we  thought  and  acted  together.  We 
differed  in  opinion  afterwards  on  a  single  point.  Each  main 
tained  his  opinion,  as  he  had  a  right,  and  acted  on  it  as  he  ought. 
But  why  brood  over  a  single  difference,  and  forget  all  our  previ 
ous  harmonies?  Difference  of  opinion  was  never,  with  me,  a 
motive  of  separation  from  a  friend,  In  the  trying  times  of  fed 
eralism,  I  never  left  a  friend.  Many  left  me,  have  since  returned, 
and  been  received  with  open  arms.  Mr.  Livingston  would  now 
be  received  at  Monticello  with  as  hearty  a  welcome  as  he  would 
have  been  in  1800.  The  case  with  Mr.  Adams  was  much 
stronger.  Fortune  had  disjointed  our  first  affections,  and  placed 
us  in  opposition  in  every  point.  This  separated  us  for  a  while. 
But  on  the  first  intimation  thro'  a  friend,  we  re-embraced  with 
cordiality,  recalled  our  antient  feelings  and  dispositions,  and 
every  thing  was  forgotten  but  our  first  sympathies.  I  bear  ill-will 
to  no  human  being. 

Another  item  of  your  letter  fills  my  heart  with  thankfulness. 
With  the  other  competitor  it  is  an  imaginary  want,  a  mere  change 
of  lounge,  to  fill  up  the  vacancies  of  mind.  Ever  affectionately 
and  respectfully  yours. 


MONTO.  Apr.  3.  24. 

I  am  really  done,  my  friend,  with  Politics,  notwithstanding  the 
doubts  you  express  in  your  favor  of  Mar.  16.  There  is  a  time 
for  everything,  for  acting  in  this  world,  and  for  getting  ready  to 
leave  it.  The  last  is  now  come  upon  me.  You,  I  hope,  will  hold 
out  as  long  as  you  can,  because  what  you  do,  I  know  will  always 
be  done  for  the  good  of  our  fellow-men.  With  respect  to  the 
European  combins  against  the  rights  of  man  I  join  an  honest 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  299 

Irishman  of  my  nbhood  in  his  4th  of  July  toast  "  the  Holy  alli 
ance,  to  Hell  the  whole  of  them." 

In  the  Presidential  election  I  am  entirely  passive.  The  pre 
tended  letter  of  mine  to  which  you  allude  is  a  faithless  travestie 
of  what  I  really  wrote.  That  was  addressed  to  a  friend,  who  had 
sollicited  my  thoughts  on  the  subject.  It  expressed  no  preference 
of  any  and  in  terms  which  could  give  offence  to  none.  He  incau 
tiously  read  the  letter  to  a  zealous  partisan,  who  published  it 
from  memory  and  with  perversions  of  terms  adapted  to  his  own 
wishes.  I  am  truly  sorry  to  see  the  foolish  and  wicked  paragraph 
from  a  Richmond  paper  which  you  inclosed  me.  The  frdly  dis 
positions  which  have  so  long  prevailed  between  Pensve  &  Virge 
and  which  have  been  so  salutary  to  republican  principles  and 
govmt,  are  not  I  hope  to  be  ruffled  by  a  paper  recently  set  up, 
and  which  if  conducted  in  the  spirit  of  that  paragraph  will  as 
certainly  be  soon  put  down.  These  states  happen  at  present  to 
differ  in  the  object  of  their  choice.  Both  favorites  are  republican, 
both  will  administer  the  govmt  honestly,  which  with  the  most 
wisdom  each  state  has  a  right  to  hope  for  itself.  But  such  a  dif 
ference,  between  thinking  and  rational  men  should  excite  no 
more  feeling  than  a  difference  of  faces  ;  and  seeing  as  I  do,  the 
permanence  of  our  union  hanging  on  the  harmony  of  Pennsva  & 
Virge,  I  hope  that  will  continue  as  long  as  our  govmt  continues 
to  be  a  blessing  to  mankind.  To  yourself  long  life,  long  health 
&  prosperity. 


MONTICELLO,  April  4,  1824. 

DEAR  SIR, — It  was  with  great  pleasure  I  learned  that  the  good 
people  of  New  Orleans  had  restored  you  again  to  the  councils  of 
our  country.  I  did  not  doubt  the  aid  it  would  bring  to  the  re 
mains  of  our  old  school  in  Congress,  in  which  your  early  labors 
had  been  so  useful.  You  will  find,  I  suppose,  on  revisiting  our 
maritime  States,  the  names  of  things  more  changed  than  the 
things  themselves  ;  that  though  our  old  opponents  have  given  up 
their  appellation,  they  have  not,  in  assuming  ours,  abandoned 
their  views,  and  that  they  are  as  strong  nearly  as  they  ever  were. 

300  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

These  cares,  however,  are  no  longer  mine.  I  resign  myself  cheer 
fully  to  the  managers  of  the  ship,  and  the  more  contentedly,  as  I 
am  near  the  end  of  my  voyage.  I  have  learned  to  be  less  confi 
dent  in  the  conclusions  of  human  reason,  and  give  more  credit  to 
the  honesty  of  contrary  opinions.  The  radical  idea  of  the  char 
acter  of  the  constitution  of  our  government,  which  I  have  adopted 
as  a  key  in  cases  of  doubtful  construction,  is,  that  the  whole  field 
of  government  is  divided  into  two  departments,  domestic  and 
foreign,  (the  States  in  their  mutual  relations  being  of  the  latter ;  ) 
that  the  former  department  is  reserved  exclusively  to  the  respect 
ive  States  within  their  own  limits,  and  the  latter  assigned  to  a 
separate  set  of  functionaries,  constituting  what  may  be  called  the 
foreign  branch,  which,  instead  of  a  federal  basis,  is  established  as 
a  distinct  government  quoad  hoc,  acting  as  the  domestic  branch 
does  on  the  citizens  directly  and  coercively ;  that  these  depart 
ments  have  distinct  directories,  co-ordinate,  and  equally  inde 
pendent  and  supreme,  each  within  its  own  sphere  of  action. 
Whenever  a  doubt  arises  to  which  of  these  branches  a  power  be 
longs,  I  try  it  by  this  test.  I  recollect  no  case  where  a  question 
simply  between  citizens  of  the  same  State,  has  been  transferred 
to  the  foreign  department,  except  that  of  inhibiting  tenders  but 
of  metallic  money,  and  ex  post  facto  legislation.  The  causes  of 
these  singularities  are  well  remembered. 

I  thank  you  for  the  copy  of  your  speech  on  the  question  of 
national  improvement,  which  I  have  read  with  great  pleasure, 
and  recognize  in  it  those  powers  of  reasoning  and  persuasion  of 
which  I  had  formerly  seen  from  you  so  many  proofs.  Yet,  in 
candor,  I  must  say  it  has  not  removed,  in  my  mind,  all  the  diffi 
culties  of  the  question.  And  I  should  really  be  alarmed  at  a  dif 
ference  of  opinion  with  you,  and  suspicious  of  my  own,  were  it 
not  that  I  have,  as  companions  in  sentiments,  the  Madisons,  the 
Monroes,  the  Randolphs,  the  Macons,  all  good  men  and  true,  of 
primitive  principles.  In  one  sentiment  of  the  speech  I  particu 
larly  concur.  "  If  we  have  a  doubt  relative  to  any  power,  we 
ought  not  to  exercise  it."  When  we  consider  the  extensive  and 
deep-seated  opposition  to  this  assumption,  the  conviction  enter 
tained  by  so  many,  that  this  deduction  of  powers  by  elaborate 
construction  prostrates  the  rights  reserved  to  the  States,  the  diffi- 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  301 

culties  with  which  it  will  rub  along  in  the  course  of  its  exercise  ; 
that  changes  of  majorities  will  be  changing"  the  system  back 
wards  and  forwards,  so  that  no  undertaking  under  it  will  be  safe  ; 
that  there  is  not  a  State  in  the  Union  which  would  not  give  the 
power  willingly,  by  way  of  amendment,  with  some  little  guard, 
perhaps,  against  abuse  ;  I  cannot  but  think  it  would  be  the  wisest 
course  to  ask  an  express  grant  of  the  power.  A  government  held 
together  by  the  bands  of  reason  only,  requires  much  compromise 
of  opinion  ;  that  things  even  salutary  should  not  be  crammed 
down  the  throats  of  dissenting  brethren,  especially  when  they 
may  be  put  into  a  form  to  be  willingly  swallowed,  and  that  a 
great  deal  of  indulgence  is  necessary  to  strengthen  habits  of  har 
mony  and  fraternity.  In  such  a  case,  it  seems  to  me  it  would  be 
safer  and  wiser  to  ask  an  express  grant  of  the  power.  This 
would  render  its  exercise  smooth  and  acceptable  to  all,  and  in 
sure  to  it  all  the  facilities  which  the  States  could  contribute,  to 
prevent  that  kind  of  abuse  which  all  will  fear,  because  all  know 
it  is  so  much  practised  in  public  bodies,  I  mean  the  bartering  of 
votes.  It  would  reconcile  every  one,  if  limited  by  the  proviso, 
that  the  federal  proportion  of  each  State  should  be  expended 
within  the  State.  With  this  single  security  against  partiality 
and  corrupt  bargaining,  I  suppose  there  is  not  a  State,  perhaps 
not  a  man  in  the  Union,  who  would  not  consent  to  add  this  to 
the  powers  of  the  general  government.  But  age  has  weaned  me 
from  questions  of  this  kind.  My  delight  is  now  in  the  passive 
occupation  of  reading  ;  and  it  is  with  great  reluctance  I  permit 
my  mind  ever  to  encounter  subjects  of  difficult  investigation. 
You  have  many  years  yet  to  come  of  vigorous  activity,  and  I 
confidently  trust  they  will  be  employed  in  cherishing  every 
measure  which  may  foster  our  brotherly  union,  and  perpetuate  a 
constitution  of  government  destined  to  be  the  primitive  and  pre 
cious  model  of  what  is  to  change  the  condition  of  man  over  the 
globe.  With  this  confidence,  equally  strong  in  your  powers  and 
purposes,  I  pray  you  to  accept  the  assurance  of  my  cordial  esteem 
and  respect. 

302  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 


MONTICELLO,  April  ig,  1824. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  received  in  due  time  your  favor  of  the  1 2th,  re 
questing  my  opinion  on  the  proposition  to  call  a  convention  for 
amending  the  constitution  of  the  State.  That  this  should  not  be 
perfect  cannot  be  a  subject  of  wonder,  when  it  is  considered  that 
ours  was  not  only  the  first  of  the  American  States,  but  the  first 
nation  in  the  world,  at  least  within  the  records  of  history,  which 
peaceably  by  its  wise  men,  formed  on  free  deliberation,  a  consti 
tution  of  government  for  itself,  and  deposited  it  in  writing,  among 
their  archives,  always  ready  and  open  to  the  appeal  of  every  citi 
zen.  The  other  States,  who  successively  formed  constitutions 
for  themselves  also,  had  the  benefit  of  our  outline,  and  have  made 
on  it,  doubtless,  successive  improvements.  One  in  the  very  out 
set,  and  which  has  been  adopted  in  every  subsequent  constitu 
tion,  was  to  lay  its  foundation  in  the  authority  of  the  nation.  To 
our  convention  no  special  authority  had  been  delegated  by  the 
people  to  form  a  permanent  constitution,  over  which  their  suc 
cessors  in  legislation  should  have  no  powers  of  alteration.  They 
had  been  elected  for  the  ordinary  purposes  of  legislation  only, 
and  at  a  time  when  the  establishment  of  a  new  government  had 
not  been  proposed  or  contemplated.  Although,  therefore,  they 
gave  to  this  act  the  title  of  a  constitution,  yet  it  could  be  no  more 
than  an  act  of  legislation,  subject,  as  their  other  acts  were,  to  al 
teration  by  their  successors.  It  has  been  said,  indeed,  that  the 
acquiescence  of  the  people  supplied  the  want  of  original  power. 
But  it  is  a  dangerous  lesson  to  say  to  them  "  whenever  your 
functionaries  exercise  unlawful  authority  over  you,  if  you  do 
not  go  into  actual  resistance,  it  will  be  deemed  acquiescence  and 
confirmation."  How  long  had  we  acquiesced  under  usurpations 
of  the  British  parliament  ?  Had  that  confirmed  them  in  right, 
and  made  our  revolution  a  wrong  ?  Besides,  no  authority  has 
yet  decided  whether  this  resistance  must  be  instantaneous  ;  when 
the  right  to  resist  ceases,  or  whether  it  has  yet  ceased.  Of  the 
twenty-four  States  now  organized,  twenty-three  have  disapproved 
our  doctrine  and  example,  and  have  deemed  the  authority  of 
their  people  a  necessary  foundation  for  a  constitution. 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  303 

Another  defect  which  has  been  corrected  by  most  of  the  States 
is,  that  the  basis  of  our  constitution  is  in  opposition  to  the  princi 
ple  of  equal  political  rights,  refusing  to  all  but  freeholders  any 
participation  in  the  natural  right  of  self-government.  It  is  be 
lieved,  for  example,  that  a  very  great  majority  of  the  militia,  on 
whom  the  burthen  of  military  duty  was  imposed  in  the  late  war, 
were  men  unrepresented  in  the  legislation  which  imposed  this 
burthen  on  them.  However  nature  may  by  mental  or  physical 
disqualifications  have  marked  infants  and  the  weaker  sex  for  the 
protection,  rather  than  the  direction  of  government,  yet  among 
the  men  who  either  pay  or  fight  for  their  country,  no  line  of 
right  can  be  drawn.  The  exclusion  of  a  majority  of  our  free 
men  from  the  right  of  representation  is  merely  arbitrary,  and  an 
usurpation  of  the  minority  over  the  majority  ;  for  it  is  believed 
that  the  non-freeholders  compose  the  majority  of  our  free  and 
adult  male  citizens. 

And  even  among  our  citizens  who  participate  in  the  repre 
sentative  privilege,  the  equality  of  political  rights  is  entirely  pros 
trated  by  our  constitution.  Upon  which  principle  of  right  or 
reason  can  any  one  justify  the  giving  to  every  citizen  of  War 
wick  as  much  weight  in  the  government  as  to  twenty-two  equal 
citizens  in  Loudon,  and  similar  inequalities  among  the  other 
counties?  If  these  fundamental  principles  are  of  no  importance 
in  actual  government,  then  no  principles  are  important,  and  it  is 
as  well  to  rely  on  the  dispositions  of  an  administration,  good  or 
evil,  as  on  the  provisions  of  a  constitution. 

I  shall  not  enter  into  the  details  of  smaller  defects,  although 
others  there  doubtless  are,  the  reformation  of  some  of  which 
might  very  much  lessen  the  expenses  of  government,  improve  its 
organization,  and  add  to  the  wisdom  and  purity  of  its  adminis 
tration  in  all  its  parts  ;  but  these  things  I  leave  to  others,  not  per 
mitting  myself  to  take  sides  in  the  political  questions  of  the  day. 
I  willingly  acquiesce  in  the  institutions  of  my  country,  perfect  or 
imperfect  ;  and  think  it  a  duty  to  leave  their  modifications  to 
those  who  are  to  live  under  them,  and  are  to  participate  of  the 
good  or  evil  they  may  produce.  The  present  generation  has  the 
same  right  of  self-government  which  the  past  one  has  exercised 
for  itself.  And  those  in  the  full  vigor  of  body  and  mind  are 

304  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

more  able  to  judge  for  themselves  than  those  who  are  sinking 
under  the  wane  of  both.  If  the  sense  of  our  citizens  on  the 
question  of  a  convention  can  be  fairly  and  fully  taken,  its  result 
will,  I  am  sure,  be  wise  and  salutary  ;  and  far  from  arrogating 
the  office  of  advice,  no  one  will  more  passively  acquiesce  in  it 
than  myself.  Retiring,  therefore,  to  the  tranquillity  called  for  by 
increasing  years  and  debility,  I  wish  not  to  be  understood  as  in 
termeddling  in  this  question  ;  and  to  my  prayers  for  the  general 
good,  I  have  only  to  add  assurances  to  yourself  of  my  great  esteem. 


MONTO.  June  5.  24. 

DEAR  SIR, — Taking  for  granted  this  will  reach  you  while  Mr. 
Gilmer  is  still  in  England,  I  take  the  liberty  of  putting  a  letter  for 
him  under  the  protection  of  your  cover  to  ensure  it's  safe  receipt 
by  him.  Should  it  however  by  any  accident  loiter  on  the  way  un 
til  he  should  be  on  his  return,  I  will  request  of  you  to  open  the 
letter  to  him  and  to  take  out  and  have  delivered  to  majr.  Cart- 
wright  one  it  covers  addressed  to  him,  and  which  otherwise  I 
would  have  wished  Mr.  Gilmer  to  deliver  personally. 

Congress  has  just  risen,  having  done  nothing  remarkable  ex 
cept  the  passing  a  tariff  bill  by  squeezing  majorities,  very 
revolting  to  a  great  portion  of  the  people  of  the  states,  among 
whom  it  is  believed  it  would  not  have  received  a  vote  but  of  the 
manufacturers  themselves.  It  is  considered  as  a  levy  on  the 
labor  &  efforts  of  the  other  classes  of  industry  to  support  that  of 
manufactures,  and  I  wish  it  may  not  draw  on  our  surplus  &  pro 
duce  retaliatory  impositions  from  other  nations.  Among  the 
candidates  for  the  presidency  you  will  have  seen  by  the  news 
papers  that  Genl.  Jackson's  prospect  was  not  without  promise. 
A  threatening  cloud  has  very  suddenly  darkened  his  horizon. 
A  letter  has  become  public,  written  by  him  when  Colo.  Monroe 
first  came  into  office,  advising  him  to  make  'up  his  administrn 
without  regard  to  party.  [No  suspicion  has  been  entertained  of 
any  indecision  in  his  political  principles,  and  this  evidence  of 
it  threatens  a  revoln  of  opinion  respecting  him.] '  The  solid 

1  Part  in  brackets  struck  out. 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  305 

republicanism  of  Pensylve,  his  principal  support,  is  thrown  into 
great  fermentation  by  this  apparent  indifference  to  political  prin 
ciples.  The  thing  is  as  yet  too  new  to  see  in  what  it  will  result. 
A  baseless  and  malicious  attack  on  Mr.  Crawford  has  produced 
from  him  so  clear,  so  incontrovertible,  and  so  temperate  a  jus- 
tifcn  of  himself  as  to  have  added  much  to  the  strength  of  his 
interest.  The  question  will  ultimately  be,  as  I  suggested  in  a 
former  letter  to  you,  between  Crawford  and  Adams,  with  this  in 
favor  of  Crawford  that  altho*  many  states  have  a  different  ist 
favorite,  he  is  the  second  with  nearly  all,  and  that  if  it  goes  into 
the  legislature  he  will  surely  be  elected.  I  am  very  much  de 
lighted  to  perceive  a  friendly  disposn  growing  up  between  the 
people  &  govmt  of  the  country  where  you  are  and  ours.  No 
two  nations  on  earth  have  so  many  interests  pleading  for  a  cor 
dial  frdshp,  and  we  have  never  had  an  executive  which  was  not 
anxious  to  have  cultivated  it,  if  it  could  have  been  done  with 
any  regard  to  self-respect.  Accept  assurances  of  my  great  es 
teem  and  respectful  considn. 


MONTICELLO,  June  29,  1824. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  to  thank  you  for  Mr.  Pickering's  elaborate 
philippic  against  Mr.  Adams,  Gerry,  Smith,  and  myself  ;  and  I 
have  delayed  the  acknowledgment  until  I  could  read  it  and  make 
some  observations  on  it. 

I  could  not  have  believed,  that  for  so  many  years,  and  to  such 
a  period  of  advanced  age,  he  could  have  nourished  passions  so 
vehement  and  viperous.  It  appears,  that  for  thirty  years  past, 
he  has  been  industriously  collecting  materials  for  vituperating  the 
characters  he  had  marked  for  his  hatred  ;  some  of  whom,  certainly, 
if  enmities  towards  him  had  ever  existed,  had  forgotten  them  all, 
or  buried  them  in  the  grave  with  themselves.  As  to  myself,  there 
never  had  been  anything  personal  between  us,  nothing  but  the 
general  opposition  of  party  sentiment ;  and  our  personal  inter 
course  had  been  that  of  urbanity,  as  himself  says.  But  it  seems 
he  has  been  all  this  time  brooding  over  an  enmity  which  I  had 

VOL.    X. — 2O 

306  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

never  felt,  and  that  with  respect  to  myself,  as  well  as  others,  he 
has  been  writing  far  and  near,  and  in  every  direction,  to  get  hold 
of  original  letters,  where  he  could,  copies,  where  he  could  not, 
certificates  and  journals,  catching  at  every  gossiping  story  he 
could  hear  of  in  any  quarter,  supplying  by  suspicions  what  he 
could  find  nowhere  else,  and  then  arguing  on  this  motley  farrago, 
as  if  established  on  gospel  evidence.  And  while  expressing  his 
wonder,  that  "  at  the  age  of  eighty-eight,  the  strong  passions  of 
Mr.  Adams  should  not  have  cooled  ;  "  that  on  the  contrary,  "  they 
had  acquired  the  mastery  of  his  soul,"  (p.  100  ;)  that  "  where 
these  were  enlisted,  no  reliance  could  be  placed  on  his  state 
ments,"  (p.  104 ;)  the  facility  and  little  truth  with  which  he  could 
represent  facts  and  occurrences,  concerning  persons  who  were 
the  objects  of  his  hatred,  (p.  3  ;)  that  "  he  is  capable  of  making 
the  grossest  misrepresentations,  and,  from  detached  facts,  and 
often  from  bare  suspicions,  of  drawing  unwarrantable  inferences, 
if  suited  to  his  purpose  at  the  instant,"  (p.  174  ;)  while  making 
such  charges,  I  say,  on  Mr.  Adams,  instead  of  his  " ecce  homo" 
(p.  100  ;)  how  justly  might  we  say  to  him,  " mutato  nomine,  de  te 
fabula  narratur."  For  the  assiduity  and  industry  he  has  em 
ployed  in  his  benevolent  researches  after  matter  of  crimination 
against  us,  I  refer  to  his  pages  13,  14,  34,  36,  46,  71,  79,  90,  bis. 
92,  93,  bis.  101,  ter.  104,  116,  118,  141,  143,  146,  150,  151,  153, 
168,  171,  172.  That  Mr.  Adams'  strictures  on  him,  written  and 
printed,  should  have  excited  some  notice  on  his  part,  was  not 
perhaps  to  be  wondered  at.  But  the  sufficiency  of  his  motive  for 
the  large  attack  on  me  may  be  more  questionable.  He  says,  (p. 
4)  "  of  Mr.  Jefferson  I  should  have  said  nothing,  but  for  his  letter 
to  Mr.  Adams,  of  October  the  i2th,  1823."  Now  the  object  of 
that  letter  was  to  soothe  the  feelings  of  a  friend,  wounded  by  a 
publication  which  I  thought  an  "  outrage  on  private  confidence." 
Not  a  word  or  allusion  in  it  respecting  Mr.  Pickering,  nor  was  it 
suspected  that  it  would  draw  forth  his  pen  in  justification  of  this 
infidelity,  which  he  has,  however,  undertaken  in  the  course  of 
his  pamphlet,  but  more  particularly  in  its  conclusion. 

He  arraigns  me  on  two  grounds,  my  actions  and  my  motives. 
The  very  actions,  however,  which  he  arraigns,  have  been  such  as 
the  great  majority  of  my  fellow  citizens  have  approved.  The 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  307 

approbation  of  Mr.  Pickering,  and  of  those  who  thought  with 
him,  I  had  no  right  to  expect.  My  motives  he  chooses  to  ascribe 
to  hypocrisy,  to  ambition,  and  a  passion  for  popularity.  Of  these 
the  world  must  judge  between  us.  It  is  no  office  of  his  or  mine. 
To  that  tribunal  I  have  ever  submitted  my  actions  and  motives, 
without  ransacking  the  Union  for  certificates,  letters,  journals, 
and  gossiping  tales,  to  justify  myself  and  weary  them.  Nor  shall 
I  do  this  on  the  present  occasion,  but  leave  still  to  them  these 
antiquated  party  diatribes,  now  newly  revamped  and  paraded,  as 
if  they  had  not  been  already  a  thousand  times  repeated,  refuted, 
and  adjudged  against  him,  by  the  nation  itself.  If  no  action  is  to 
be  deemed  virtuous  for  which  malice  can  imagine  a  sinister  mo 
tive,  then  there  never  was  a  virtuous  action  ;  no,  not  even  in  the 
life  of  our  Saviour  himself.  But  he  has  taught  us  to  judge  the  tree 
by  its  fruit,  and  to  leave  motives  to  him  who  can  alone  see  into 

But  whilst  I  leave  to  its  fate  the  libel  of  Mr.  Pickering,  with 
the  thousands  of  others  like  it,  to  which  I  have  given  no  other 
answer  than  a  steady  course  of  similar  action,  there  are  two  facts 
or  fancies  of  his  which  I  must  set  to  rights.  The  one  respects 
Mr.  Adams,  the  other  myself.  He  observes  that  my  letter  of 
October  the  i2th,  1823,  acknowledges  the  receipt  of  one  from 
Mr.  Adams,  of  September  the  i8th,  which,  having  been  written 
a  few  days  after  Cunningham's  publication,  he  says  was  no  doubt 
written  to  apologize  to  me  for  the  pointed  reproaches  he  had  ut 
tered  against  me  in  his  confidential  letters  to  Cunningham.  And 
thus  having  "no  doubt"  of  his  conjecture,  he  considers  it  as 
proven,  goes  on  to  suppose  the  contents  of  the  letter,  (19,  22,) 
makes  it  place  Mr.  Adams  at  my  feet  suing  for  pardon,  and  con 
tinues  to  rant  upon  it,  as  an  undoubted  fact.  Now,  I  do  most 
solemnly  declare,  that  so  far  from  being  a  letter  of  apology,  as 
Mr.  Pickering  so  undoubtedly  assumes,  there  was  not  a  word  or 
allusion  in  it  respecting  Cunningham's  publication. 

The  other  allegation  respecting  myself,  is  equally  false.  In 
page  34,  he  quotes  Doctor  Stuart  as  having,  twenty  years  ago, 
informed  him  that  General  Washington,  "when  he  became  a 
private  citizen,"  called  me  to  account  for  expressions  in  a  letter 
to  Mazzei,  requiring,  in  a  tone  of  unusual  severity,  an  explanation 

3o8  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

of  that  letter.  He  adds  of  himself,  "  in  what  manner  the  latter 
humbled  himself  and  appeased  the  just  resentment  of  Washing 
ton,  will  never  be  made  known,  as  some  time  after  his  death  the 
correspondence  was  not  to  be  found,  and  a  diary  for  an  important 
period  of  his  presidency  was  also  missing."  The  diary  being  of 
transactions  during  his  presidency,  the  letter  to  Mazzei  not  known 
here  until  some  time  after  he  became  a  private  citizen,  and  the  pre 
tended  correspondence  of  course  after  that,  I  know  not  why  this 
lost  diary  and  supposed  correspondence  are  brought  together 
here,  unless  for  insinuations  worthy  of  the  letter  itself.  The  cor 
respondence  could  not  be  found,  indeed,  because  it  had  never 
existed.  J  do  affirm  that  there  never  passed  a  word,  written  or 
verbal,  directly  or  indirectly,  between  General  Washington  and 
myself  on  the  subject  of  that  letter.  He  would  never  have 
degraded  himself  so  far  as  to  take  to  himself  the  imputation  in 
that  letter  on  the  "  Samsons  in  combat."  The  whole  story  is  a 
fabrication,  and  I  defy  the  framers  of  it,  and  all  mankind,  to  pro 
duce  a  scrip  of  a  pen  between  General  Washington  and  myself 
on  the  subject,  or  any  other  evidence  more  worthy  of  credit  than 
the  suspicions,  suppositions  and  presumptions  of  the  two  persons 
here  quoting  and  quoted  for  it.  With  Doctor  Stuart  I  had  not 
much  acquaintance.  I  supposed  him  to  be  an  honest  man,  knew 
him  to  be  a  very  weak  one,  and,  like  Mr.  Pickering,  very  prone  to 
antipathies,  boiling  with  party  passions,  arid  under  the  dominion 
of  these  readily  welcoming  fancies  for  facts.  But  come  the  story 
from  whomsoever  it  might,  it  is  an  unqualified  falsehood. 

This  letter  to  Mazzei  has  been  a  precious  theme  of  crimina 
tion  for  federal  malice.  It  was  a  long  letter  of  business,  in  which 
was  inserted  a  single  paragraph  only  of  political  information  as 
to  the  state  of  our  country.  In  this  information  there  was  not 
one  word  which  would  not  then  have  been,  or  would  not  now 
be  approved  by  every  republican  in  the  United  States,  looking 
back  to  those  times,  as  you  will  see  by  a  faithful  copy  now  en 
closed  of  the  whole  of  what  that  letter  said  on  the  subject  of  the 
United  States,  or  of  its  government.  This  paragraph,  extracted 
and  translated,  got  into  a  Paris  paper  at  a  time  when  the  persons 
in  power  there  were  laboring  under  very  general  disfavor,  and 
their  friends  were  eager  to  catch  even  at  straws  to  buoy  them 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  309 

up.  To  them,  therefore,  I  have  always  imputed  the  interpola 
tion  of  an  entire  paragraph  additional  to  mine,  which  makes  me 
charge  my  own  country  with  ingratitude  and  injustice  to  France. 
There  was  not  a  word  in  my  letter  respecting  France,  or  any  of 
the  proceedings  or  relations  between  this  country  and  that.  Yet 
this  interpolated  paragraph  has  been  the  burthen  of  federal  cal 
umny,  has  been  constantly  quoted  by  them,  made  the  subject  of 
unceasing  and  virulent  abuse,  and  is  still  quoted,  as  you  see,  by 
Mr.  Pickering,  page  33,  as  if  it  were  genuine,  and  really  written  by 
me.  And  even  Judge  Marshall  makes  history  descend  from  its 
dignity,  and  the  ermine  from  its  sanctity,  to  exaggerate,  to  re 
cord,  and  to  sanction  this  forgery.  In  the  very  last  note  of  his 
book,  he  says,  "a  letter  from  Mr.  Jefferson  to  Mr.  Mazzei,  an 
Italian,  was  published  in  Florence,  and  re-published  in  the  Moni- 
teur,  with  very  severe  strictures  on  the  conduct  of  the  United 
States."  And  instead  of  the  letter  itself,  he  copies  what  he  says 
are  the  remarks  of  the  editor,  which  are  an  exaggerated  com 
mentary  on  the  fabricated  paragraph  itself,  and  silently  leaves  to 
his  reader  to  make  the  ready  inference  that  these  were  the  sen 
timents  of  the  letter.  Proof  is  the  duty  of  the  affirmative  side. 
A  negative  cannot  be  positively  proved.  But,  in  defect  of  im 
possible  proof  of  what  was  not  in  the  original  letter,  I  have  its 
press-copy  still  in  my  possession.  It  has  been  shown  to  several, 
and  is  open  to  any  one  who  wishes  to  see  it.  I  have  presumed 
only,  that  the  interpolation  was  done  in  Paris.  But  I  never  saw 
the  letter  in  either  its  Italian  or  French  dress,  and  it  may  have 
been  done  here,  with  the  commentary  handed  down  to  posterity 
by  the  Judge.  The  genuine  paragraph,  re-translated  through 
Italian  and  French  into  English,  as  it  appeared  here  in  a  federal 
paper,  besides  the  mutilated  hue  which  these  translations  and  re- 
translations  of  it  produced  generally,  gave  a  mistranslation  of  a 
single  word,  which  entirely  perverted  its  meaning,  and  made  it 
a  pliant  and  fertile  text  of  misrepresentation  of  my  political  prin 
ciples.  The  original,  speaking  of  an  Anglican,  monarchical  and 
aristocratical  party,  which  had  sprung  up  since  he  had  left  us, 
states  their  object  to  be  "  to  draw  over  us  the  substance,  as  they 
had  already  done  the  forms  of  the  British  Government."  Now  the 
"forms"  here  meant,  were  the  levees,  birthdays,  the  pompous 

3io  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

cavalcade  to  the  state  house  on  the  meeting  of  Congress,  the 
formal  speech  from  the  throne,  the  procession  of  Congress  in  a 
body  to  re-echo  the  speech  in  an  answer,  &c.,  &c.  But  the 
translator  here,  by  substituting  form  in  the  singular  number,  for 
forms  in  the  plural,  made  it  mean  the  frame  or  organization  of 
our  government,  or  its  form  of  legislative,  executive  and  judiciary 
authorities,  coordinate  and  independent ;  to  which  form  it  was 
to  be  inferred  that  I  was  an  enemy.  In  this  sense  they  always 
quoted  it,  and  in  this  sense  Mr.  Pickering  still  quotes  it,  pages  34, 
35,  38,  and  countenances  the  inference.  Now  General  Wash 
ington  perfectly  understood  what  I  meant  by  these  forms,  as  they 
were  frequent  subjects  of  conversation  between  us.  When,  on 
my  return  from  Europe,  I  joined  the  government  in  March,  1790, 
at  New  York,  I  was  much  astonished,  indeed,  at  the  mimicry  I 
found  established  of  royal  forms  and  ceremonies,  and  more  alarmed 
at  the  unexpected  phenomenon,  by  the  monarchical  sentiments  I 
heard  expressed  and  openly  maintained  in  every  company,  and 
among  others  by  the  high  members  of  the  government,  executive 
and  judiciary,  (General  Washington  alone  excepted,)  and  by  a 
great  part  of  the  legislature,  save  only  some  members  who  had 
been  of  the  old  Congress,  and  a  very  few  of  recent  introduction. 
I  took  occasion,  at  various  times,  of  expressing  to  General  Wash 
ington  my  disappointment  at  these  symptoms  of  a  change  of 
principle,  and  that  I  thought  them  encouraged  by  the  forms  and 
ceremonies  which  I  found  prevailing,  not  at  all  in  character  with 
the  simplicity  of  republican  government,  and  looking  as  if  wish 
fully  to  those  of  European  courts.  His  general  explanations  to 
me  were,  that  when  he  arrived  at  New  York  to  enter  on  the  ex 
ecutive  administration  of  the  new  government,  he  observed  to 
those  who  were  to  assist  him,  that  placed  as  he  was  in  an  office 
entirely  new  to  him,  unacquainted  with  the  forms  and  ceremo 
nies  of  other  governments,  still  less  apprized  of  those  which 
might  be  properly  established  here,  and  himself  perfectly  indiffer 
ent  to  all  forms,  he  wished  them  to  consider  and  prescribe  what 
they  should  be  ;  and  the  task  was  assigned  particularly  to  Gen 
eral  Knox,  a  man  of  parade,  and  to  Colonel  Humphreys,  who 
had  resided  some  time  at  a  foreign  court.  They,  he  said,  were 
the  authors  of  the  present  regulations,  and  that  others  were  pro- 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  311 

posed  so  highly  strained  that  he  absolutely  rejected  them.  At 
tentive  to  the  difference  of  opinion  prevailing  on  this  subject, 
when  the  term  of  his  second  election  arrived,  he  called  the  Heads 
of  departments  together,  observed  to  them  the  situation  in  which 
he  had  been  at  the  commencement  of  the  government,  the  ad 
vice  he  had  taken  and  the  course  he  had  observed  in  compliance 
with  it ;  that  a  proper  occasion  had  now  arrived  of  revising  that 
course,  of  correcting  it  in  any  particulars  not  approved  in  expe 
rience  ;  and  he  desired  us  to  consult  together,  agree  on  any 
changes  we  should  think  for  the  better,  and  that  he  should  will 
ingly  conform  to  what  we  should  advise.  We  met  at  my  office. 
Hamilton  and  myself  agreed  at  once  that  there  was  too  much 
ceremony  for  the  character  of  our  government,  and  particularly, 
that  the  parade  of  the  installation  at  New  York  ought  not  to  be 
copied  on  the  present  occasion,  that  the  President  should  desire 
the  Chief  Justice  to  attend  him  at  his  chambers,  that  he  should 
administer  the  oath  of  office  to  him  in  the  presence  of  the  higher 
officers  of  the  government,  and  that  the  certificate  of  the  fact 
should  be  delivered  to  the  Secretary  of  State  to  be  recorded. 
Randolph  and  Knox  differed  from  us,  the  latter  vehemently  ; 
they  thought  it  not  advisable  to  change  any  of  the  established 
forms,  and  we  authorized  Randolph  to  report  our  opinions  to  the 
President.  As  these  opinions  were  divided,  and  no  positive  ad 
vice  given  as  to  any  change,  no  change  was  made.  Thus  the 
forms  which  I  had  censured  in  my  letter  to  Mazzei  were  per 
fectly  understood  by  General  Washington,  and  were  those  which 
he  himself  but  barely  tolerated.  He  had  furnished  me  a  proper 
occasion  for  proposing  their  reformation,  and  my  opinion  not  pre 
vailing,  he  knew  I  could  not  have  meant  any  part  of  the  censure 
for  him. 

Mr.  Pickering  quotes,  too,  (page  34)  the  expression  in  the 
letter,  of  "  the  men  who  were  Samsons  in  the  field,  and  Solo 
mons  in  the  council,  but  who  had  had  their  heads  shorn  by  the 
harlot  England  ; "  or,  as  expressed  in  their  re-translation,  "  the 
men  who  were  Solomons  in  council,  and  Samsons  in  combat,  but 
whose  hair  had  been  cut  off  by  the  whore  England."  Now  this 
expression  also  was  perfectly  understood  by  General  Washing 
ton.  He  knew  that  I  meant  it  for  the  Cincinnati  generally,  and 

3i2  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

that  from  what  had  passed  between  us  at  the  commencement  of 
that  institution,  I  could  not  mean  to  include  him.  When  the 
first  meeting  was  called  for  its  establishment,  I  was  a  member  of 
the  Congress  then  sitting  at  Annapolis.  General  Washington 
wrote  to  me,  asking  my  opinion  on  that  proposition,  and  the 
course,  if  any,  which  I  thought  Congress  would  observe  respect 
ing  it.  I  wrote  him  frankly  my  own  disapprobation  of  it ;  that 
I  found  the  members  of  Congress  generally  in  the  same  senti 
ment  ;  that  I  thought  they  would  take  no  express  notice  of  it, 
but  that  in  all  appointments  of  trust,  honor,  or  profit,  they  would 
silently  pass  by  all  candidates  of  that  order,  and  give  an  uniform 
preference  to  others.  On  his  way  to  the  first  meeting  in  Phil 
adelphia,  which  I  think  was  in  the  spring  of  1784,  he  called  on 
me  at  Annapolis.  It  was  a  little  after  candle-light,  and  he  sat 
with  me  till  after  midnight,  conversing,  almost  exclusively,  on 
that  subject.  While  he  was  feelingly  indulgent  to  the  motives 
which  might  induce  the  officers  to  promote  it,  he  concurred  with 
me  entirely  in  condemning  it  ;  and  when  I  expressed  an  idea 
that  if  the  hereditary  quality  were  suppressed,  the  institution 
might  perhaps  be  indulged  during  the  lives  of  the  officers  now 
living,  and  who  had  actually  served  ;  "  no,"  he  said,  "  not  a  fibre 
of  it  ought  to  be  left,  to  be  an  eye-sore  to  the  public,  a  ground 
of  dissatisfaction,  and  a  line  of  separation  between  them  and  their 
country  ;  "  and  he  left  me  with  a  determination  to  use  all  his  in 
fluence  for  its  entire  suppression.  On  his  return  from  the  meet 
ing  he  called  on  me  again,  and  related  to  me  the  course  the  thing 
had  taken.  He  said  that  from  the  beginning,  he  had  used  every 
endeavor  to  prevail  on  the  officers  to  renounce  the  project  alto 
gether,  urging  the  many  considerations  which  would  render  it 
odious  to  their  fellow  citizens,  and  disreputable  and  injurious  to 
themselves ;  that  he  had  at  length  prevailed  on  most  of  the  old 
officers  to  reject  it,  although  with  great  and  warm  opposition 
from  others,  and  especially  the  younger  ones,  among  whom  he 
named  Colonel  W.  S.  Smith  as  particularly  intemperate.  But 
that  in  this  state  of  things,  when  he  thought  the  question  safe, 
and  the  meeting  drawing  to  a  close,  Major  L'Enfant  arrived  from 
France,  with  a  bundle  of  eagles,  for  which  he  had  been  sent 
there,  with  letters  from  the  French  officers  who  had  served  in 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  313 

America,  praying  for  admission  into  the  order,  and  a  solemn  act 
of  their  king  permitting  them  to  wear  its  ensign.  This,  he  said, 
changed  the  face  of  matters  at  once,  produced  an  entire  revolu 
tion  of  sentiment,  and  turned  the  torrent  so  strongly  in  an  oppo 
site  direction  that  it  could  be  no  longer  withstood  ;  all  he  could 
then  obtain  was  a  suppression  of  the  hereditary  quality.  He 
added,  that  it  was  the  French  applications,  and  respect  for  the 
approbation  of  the  king,  which  saved  the  establishment  in  its 
modified  and  temporary  form.  Disapproving  thus  of  the  insti 
tution  as  much  as  I  did,  and  conscious  that  I  knew  him  to  do  so, 
he  could  never  suppose  that  I  meant  to  include  him  among  the 
Samsons  in  the  field,  whose  object  was  to  draw  over  us  the  form, 
as  they  made  the  letter  say,  of  the  British  government,  and  espe 
cially  its  aristocratic  member,  an  hereditary  house  of  lords.  Add 
to  this,  that  the  letter  saying  "  that  two  out  of  the  three  branches 
of  legislature  were  against  us,"  was  an  obvious  exception  of  him  ; 
it  being  well  known  that  the  majorities  in  the  two  branches  of 
Senate  and  Representatives,  were  the  very  instruments  which 
carried,  in  opposition  to  the  old  and  real  republicans,  the  meas 
ures  which  were  the  subjects  of  condemnation  in  this  letter. 
General  Washington  then,  understanding  perfectly  what  and 
whom  I  meant  to  designate,  in  both  phrases,  and  that  they  could 
not  have  any  application  or  view  to  himself,  could  find  in  neither 
any  cause  of  offence  to  himself  ;  and  therefore  neither  needed, 
nor  ever  asked  any  explanation  of  them  from  me.  Had  it  even 
been  otherwise,  they  must  know  very  little  of  General  Washing 
ton,  who  should  believe  to  be  within  the  laws  of  his  character 
what  Doctor  Stuart  is  said  to  have  imputed  to  him.  Be  this, 
however,  as  it  may,  the  story  is  infamously  false  in  every  article 
of  it.  My  last  parting  with  General  Washington  was  at  the  in 
auguration  of  Mr.  Adams,  in  March,  1797,  and  was  warmly  affec 
tionate  ;  and  I  never  had  any  reason  to  believe  any  change  on 
his  part,  as  there  certainly  was  none  on  mine.  But  one  session 
of  Congress  intervened  between  that  and  his  death,  the  year 
following,  in  my  passage  to  and  from  which,  as  it  happened  to 
be  not  convenient  to  call  on  him,  I  never  had  another  oppor 
tunity  ;  and  as  to  the  cessation  of  correspondence  observed  dur 
ing  that  short  interval,  no  particular  circumstance  occurred  for 

314  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

epistolary  communication,  and  both  of  us  were  too  much  op 
pressed  with  letter-writing,  to  trouble,  either  the  other,  with  a 
letter  about  nothing. 

The  truth  is,  that  the  federalists,  pretending  to  be  the  exclu 
sive  friends  of  General  Washington,  have  ever  done  what  they 
could  to  sink  his  character,  by  hanging  theirs  on  it,  and  by  rep 
resenting  as  the  enemy  of  republicans  him,  who,  of  all  men,  is 
best  entitled  to  the  appellation  of  the  father  of  that  republic 
which  they  were  endeavoring  to  subvert,  and  the  republicans  to 
maintain.  They  cannot  deny,  because  the  elections  proclaimed 
the  truth,  that  the  great  body  of  the  nation  approved  the  re 
publican  measures.  General  Washington  was  himself  sincerely 
a  friend  to  the  republican  principles  of  our  constitution.  His 
faith,  perhaps,  in  its  duration,  might  not  have  been  as  confident  as 
mine  ;  but  he  repeatedly  declared  to  me,  that  he  was  determined 
it  should  have  a  fair  chance  for  success,  and  that  he  would  lose 
the  last  drop  of  his  blood  in  its  support,  against  any  attempt 
which  might  be  made  to  change  it  from  its  republican  form.  He 
made  these  declarations  the  oftener,  because  he  knew  my  sus 
picions  that  Hamilton  had  other  views,  and  he  wished  to  quiet 
my  jealousies  on  this  subject.  For  Hamilton  frankly  avowed, 
that  he  considered  the  British  constitution,  with  all  the  corrup 
tions  of  its  administration,  as  the  most  perfect  model  of  gov 
ernment  which  had  ever  been  devised  by  the  wit  of  man ; 
professing  however,  at  the  same  time,  that  the  spirit  of  this  country 
was  so  fundamentally  republican,  that  it  would  be  visionary  to 
think  of  introducing  monarchy  here,  and  that,  therefore,  it  was 
the  duty  of  its  administrators  to  conduct  it  on  the  principles  their 
constituents  had  elected. 

General  Washington,  after  the  retirement  of  his  first  cabinet, 
and  the  composition  of  his  second,  entirely  federal,  and  at  the 
head  of  which  was  Mr.  Pickering  himself,  had  no  opportunity 
of  hearing  both  sides  of  any  question.  His  measures,  conse 
quently,  took  more  the  hue  of  the  party  in  whose  hands  he  was. 
These  measures  were  certainly  not  approved  by  the  republicans  ; 
yet  were  they  not  imputed  to  him,  but  to  the  counsellors  around 
him  ;  and  his  prudence  so  far  restrained  their  impassioned  course 
and  bias,  that  no  act  of  strong  mark,  during  the  remainder  of 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  315 

his  administration,  excited  much  dissatisfaction.  He  lived  too 
short  a  time  after,  and  too  much  withdrawn  from  information,  to 
correct  the  views  into  which  he  had  been  deluded  ;  and  the  con 
tinued  assiduities  of  the  party  drew  him  into  the  vortex  of  their 
intemperate  career ;  separated  him  still  farther  from  his  real 
friends,  and  excited  him  to  actions  and  expressions  of  dissatis 
faction,  which  grieved  them,  but  could  not  loosen  their  affec 
tions  from  him.  They  would  not  suffer  the  temporary  aberration 
to  weigh  against  the  immeasurable  merits  of  his  life  ;  and  although 
they  tumbled  his  seducers  from  their  places,  they  preserved  his 
memory  embalmed  in  their  hearts,  with  undiminished  love  and 
devotion  ;  and  there  it  forever  will  remain  embalmed,  in  entire 
oblivion  of  every  temporary  thing  which  might  cloud  the  glories 
of  his  splendid  life.  It  is  vain,  then,  for  Mr.  Pickering  and  his 
friends  to  endeavor  to  falsify  his  character,  by  representing  him 
as  an  enemy  to  republicans  and  republican  principles,  and  as 
exclusively  the  friend  of  those  who  were  so  ;  and  had  he  lived 
longer,  he  would  have  returned  to  his  ancient  and  unbiased 
opinions,  would  have  replaced  his  confidence  in  those  whom  the 
people  approved  and  supported,  and  would  have  seen  that  they 
were  only  restoring  and  acting  on  the  principles  of  his  own  first 

I  find,  my  dear  Sir,  that  I  have  written  you  a  very  long  letter, 
or  rather  a  history.  The  civility  of  having  sent  me  a  copy  of 
Mr.  Pickering's  diatribe,  would  scarcely  justify  its  address  to  you. 
I  do  not  publish  these  things,  because  my  rule  of  life  has  been 
never  to  harass  the  public  with  fendings  and  provings  of  personal 
slanders  ;  and  least  of  all  would  I  descend  into  the  arena  of 
slander  with  such  a  champion  as  Mr.  Pickering.  I  have  ever 
trusted  to  the  justice  and  consideration  of  my  fellow  citizens, 
and  have  no  reason  to  repent  it,  or  to  change  my  course.  At 
this  time  of  life  too,  tranquillity  is  the  summum  bonum.  But 
although  I  decline  all  newspaper  controversy,  yet  when  false 
hoods  have  been  advanced,  within  the  knowledge  of  no  one  so 
much  as  myself,  I  have  sometimes  deposited  a  contradiction  in 
the  hands  of  a  friend,  which,  if  worth  preservation,  may,  when 
I  am  no  more,  nor  those  whom  I  might  offend,  throw  light  on 
history,  and  recall  that  into  the  path  of  truth.  And  if  of  no 

316  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

other  value,   the  present  communication  may  amuse   you  with 
anecdotes  not  known  to  every  one. 

I  had  meant  to  have  added  some  views  on  the  amalgamation  of 
parties,  to  which  your  favor  of  the  8th  has  some  allusion  ;  an  amal 
gamation  of  name,  but  not  of  principle.  Tories  are  tories  still,  by 
whatever  name  they  may  be  called.  But  my  letter  is  already 
too  unmercifully  long,  and  I  close  it  here  with  assurances  of  my 
great  esteem  and  respectful  consideration. 


MONTICELLO  July  1 8.  24. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  duly  reed,  your  favor  of  the  i2th  inst.  and 
concur  in  every  sentimt  you  express  on  the  subject  of  mine  of 
the  2d.  They  were  exactly  what  I  should  have  said  to  you  my 
self  had  our  places  been  changed.  My  Ire  was  meant  only  to 
convey  the  wishes  of  the  party,  and  in  few  cases  where  circum 
stances  have  obliged  me  to  communicate  sollicitns  have  I  ever 
suffered  my  own  wishes  to  mingle  with  theirs.  That  of  Peyton  I 
except,  which  yet  I  would  not  have  urged  were  it  possible  for 
you  to  appoint  a  better  man,  or  one  more  solidly  in  the  public 
esteem.  In  the  case  which  was  the  subject  of  my  Ire  of  the  2d. 
the  abilities  are  sfft.  the  temper  &  prudence  questionable,  and  the 
standing  in  public  opn  defective.  Yet  this  latter  circumstance 
is  always  important,  because  it  is  not  wisdom  alone,  but  public 
confidce  in  that  wisdom  which  can  support  an  admn.  Something 
however,  less  marked  may  occur  to  give  him  decent  and  com 
fortable  maintenance. 

I  am  sorry  to  hear  that  England  is  equivocal.  My  reliance 
was  on  the  great  interest  she  had  in  the  indepdce  of  the  Spanish 
colonies,  and  my  belief  that  she  might  be  trusted  in  followg  what 
ever  clue  would  lead  to  her  interest.  The  Spanish  agents  will 
doubtless  think -it  reasonable  that  we  make  our  commitmt  depend 
entirely  on  the  concurrence  of  Engld.  With  that  we  are  safe  ; 
without  it  we  cannot  protect  them  and  they  cannot  reasonably 
expect  us  to  sink  ourselves  uselessly  &  even  injuriously  for  them 
by  a  Quixotic  encounter  of  the  whole  world  in  arms.  Were  it 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  317 

Spain  alone  I  should  have  no  fear.  But  Russia  is  said  to  have 
70.  ships  of  the  line.  France  approaching  that  number  and  what 
should  we  be  in  fronting  such  a  force.  It  is  not  for  the  interest 
of  Spanish  America  that  our  republic  should  be  blotted  out  of  the 
map,  and  to  the  rest  of  the  world  it  would  be  an  act  of  treason. 
I  see  both  reason  and  justifcn  in  hanging  our  answers  to  them  on 
the  coopern  of  England  &  directing  all  their  importunities  to  that 
govmt.  We  feel  strongly  for  them,  but  our  first  care  must  be 
ourselves.  I  am  sorry  for  the  doubtfulness  of  your  visit  to  our 
nbhood,  and  still  more  so  for  the  ground  of  it.  With  my  prayers 
that  the  last  may  be  favorably  relieved,  accept  the  assurance  of 
my  affecte  frdshp  &  great  respect. 

TO  HENRY  LEE.  j.  MSS. 

MONTO.  Aug.  10.  24. 

SIR, — I  have  duly  received  your  favor  of  the  i4th  and  with  it 
the  prospectus  of  a  newspaper  which  it  covered.  If  the  style  and 
spirit  of  that  should  be  maintained  in  the  paper  itself  it  will  be 
truly  worthy  of  the  public  patronage.  As  to  myself  it  is  many 
years  since  I  have  ceased  to  read  but  a  single  paper.  I  am  no 
longer  therefore  a  general  subscriber  for  any  other.  Yet  to  en 
courage  the  hopeful  in  the  outset  I  have  sometimes  subscribed 
for  the  ist  year  on  the  condition  of  being  discontinued  at  the  end 
of  it,  without  further  warning.  I  do  the  same  now  with  pleasure 
for  yours,  and  unwilling  to  have  outstanding  accounts  which  I 
am  liable  to  forget,  I  now  inclose  the  price  of  the  tri-weekly  paper. 
I  am  no  believer  in  the  amalgamation  of  parties,  nor  do  I  con 
sider  it  as  either  desirable  or  useful  for  the  public  ;  but  only  that, 
like  religious  differences,  a  difference  in  politics  should  never  be 
permitted  to  enter  into  social  intercourse,  or  to  disturb  it's  friend 
ships,  its  charities  or  justice.  In  that  form  they  are  censors  of 
the  conduct  of  each  other,  and  useful  watchmen  for  the  public. 
Men  by  their  constitutions  are  naturally  divided  into  two  parties. 
i.  Those  who  fear  and  distrust  the  people,  and  wish  to  draw  all 
powers  from  them  into  the  hands  of  the  higher  classes.  2ndly 
those  who  identify  themselves  with  the  people,  have  confidence 

3i8  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

in  them,  cherish  and  consider  them  as  the  most  honest  &  safe, 
altho'  not  the  most  wise  depository  of  the  public  interests.  In 
every  country  these  two  parties  exist,  and  in  every  one  where 
they  are  free  to  think,  speak,  and  write,  they  will  declare  them 
selves.  Call  them  therefore  liberals  and  serviles,  Jacobins  and 
Ultras,  whigs  and  tories,  republicans  and  federalists,  aristocrats 
and  democrats  or  by  whatever  name  you  please,  they  are  the 
same  parties  still  and  pursue  the  same  object.  The  last  appella 
tion  of  aristocrats  and  democrats  is  the  true  one  expressing  the 
essence  of  all.  A  paper  which  shall  be  governed  by  the  spirit  of 
Mr.  Madison's  celebrated  report,  of  which  you  express  in  your 
prospectus  so  just  and  high  an  approbation,  cannot  be  false  to 
the  rights  of  all  classes.  The  grandfathers  of  the  present  gen 
eration  of  your  family  I  knew  well.  They  were  friends  and  fel 
low-laborers  with  me  in  the  same  cause  and  principle.  Their 
descendants  cannot  follow  better  guides.  Accept  the  assurance 
of  my  best  wishes  &  respectful  consideration. 


MONTICELLO   Sep.  3.  24 

The  mail  my  dear  Friend,  succeeding  that  which  brought  us 
the  welcome  news  of  your  arrival  on  our  shores,  brought  that  of 
your  being  to  proceed  immediately  to  the  North.  I  delayed 
therefore  till  you  should  turn  Southwdly  to  meet  you  with  my 
sincere  congratulns  on  your  safe  passage,  and  restoration  to  those 
who  love  you  more  than  any  people  on  earth.  Indeed  I  fear 
they  will  kill  you  with  their  kindness,  so  fatiguing  and  exhausting 
must  be  the  ceremonies  they  force  upon  you.  Be  on  your  guard, 
against  this,  my  dear  Sir,  and  do  not  lose  in  the  enthusiastic 
embraces  of  affection  a  life  they  are  meant  to  cherish.  I  see  you 
are  to  visit  our  Yorktown  on  the  ipth  of  Oct.  My  spirit  will  be 
there,  my  body  cannot.  1  am  too  much  enfeebled  by  age  for 
such  a  journey.  I  cannot  walk  further  than  my  garden,  with 
infirmities  too  which  can  only  be  nursed  at  home.  I  imagine  you 
will  be  forced  to  visit  Chas.  T.  and  Savanna,  for  where  is  it  they  will 
not  wish  and  ask  your  company  if  they  can  get  it.  Our  little  vil- 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  319 

lage  of  Charlottesville  insists  also  on  receiving  you.  They  would 
have  claimed  you  as  their  guest,  were  it  possible  I  could  have 
seen  you  the  guest  of  any  other  than  myself  in  the  vicinage  of 
Monto.  I  have  reduced  them  therefore  to  the  honor  of  your  ac 
cepting  from  them  a  dinner,  and  that,  thro'  me,  they  beseech  you 
to  come  &  accept.  I  suppose  in  fact  that  either  going  to  or 
returning  from  the  South,  the  line  by  Monto.  &  Montpellier  will 
be  little  out  of  your  way.  Come  then,  my  dear  friend,  suit  the 
time  to  yourself,  make  your  headquarters  here  from  whence  the 
ride  to  Charlottesville  &  it's  appendage  our  university  will  not  be 
of  an  hour.  Let  me  once  more  have  the  happiness  of  talking 
over  with  you  your  first  labors  here,  those  I  witnessed  in  your 
own  country,  it's  past  &  present  afflictions  and  future  hopes.  God 
bless  and  preserve  you,  and  give  me  once  more  to  see  and  em 
brace  you. 


MONTO.  Sep.  5.  24. 

SIR, — I  have  duly  received  your  favor  of  the  25th  ult.  request 
ing  permission  to  publish  my  letters  of  July  12.  and  Sep.  5.  1816. 
But  to  this  I  cannot  consent.  They  were  committed  to  your 
honor  and  confidence  under  express  injunxtions  against  their 
publication,  and  I  am  happy  to  learn  that  that  confidence  has  not 
been  misplaced.  The  reasons  too,  then  opposed  to  it,  have 
gained  greater  strength  by  increase  of  age  and  of  aversion  to  be 
committed  to  political  altercation  and  obloquy.  Nor  do  I  believe 
their  publicn  would  have  any  weight.  Our  fellow  citizens  think 
too  independantly  for  themselves  to  yield  their  opinions  to  any 
one.  Another  strong  reason  against  it  at  present  is  the  alarm 
which  has  been  excited,  and  with  great  effect,  lest  too  much  in 
novation  should  be  attempted.  These  letters  would  do  harm  by 
increasing  that  alarm.  At  a  particular  and  pressing  request  I  did 
venture  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  Pleasants  some  strictures  on  certain 
defects  in  our  constitution,  with  permission  to  publish  them.  So 
far  then  my  opinions  are  known.  When  the  legislature  shall  be 
assembled,  and  the  question  approaching  of  calling  a  convention, 
I  should  have  no  objection  to  a  discreet  communication  of  these 
letters  to  thinking  and  friendly  members,  who  would  not  hang  me 

320  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

up  as  a  scare-crow  and  enemy  to  a  constitution  on  which  many 
believe  the  good  and  happiness  of  their  country  depend.  I  be 
lieve  on  the  contrary  that  they  depend  on  amending  that  constn 
from  time  to  time  and  keeping  it  always  in  harmony  with  the 
advance  of  habits  and  principles.  But  I  respect  their  right  of 
free  opinion  too  much  to  urge  an  uneasy  pressure  on  them. 
Time  and  advancing  science  will  ripen  us  all  in  it's  course,  and 
reconcile  all  to  wholesome  and  necessary  changes.  I  salute  you 
with  respectful  consideration. 


MONTICELLO,  October  9,  1824. 

I  have  duly  received,  my  dear  friend  and  General, 
your  letter  of  the  ist  from  Philadelphia,  giving  us  the 
welcome  assurance  that  you  will  visit  the  neighbor 
hood  which,  during  the  march  of  our  enemy  near  it, 
was  covered  by  your  shield  from  his  robberies  and 
ravages.  In  passing  the  line  of  your  former  march 
you  will  experience  pleasing  recollections  of  the  good 
you  have  done.  My  neighbors,  too,  of  our  academi 
cal  village,  who  well  remember  their  obligations  to 
you,  have  expressed  to  you,  in  a  letter  from  a  com 
mittee  appointed  for  that  purpose,  their  hope  that 
you  will  accept  manifestations  of  their  feelings,  sim 
ple  indeed,  but  as  cordial  as  any  you  will  have 
received.  It  will  be  an  additional  honor  to  the  Uni 
versity  of  the  State  that  you  will  have  been  its  first 
guest.  Gratify  them,  then,  by  this  assurance  to  their 
committee,  if  it  has  not  been  done.  But  what  recol 
lections,  dear  friend,  will  this  call  up  to  you  and  me  \ 
What  a  history  have  we  to  run  over  from  the  evening 
that  yourself,  Meusnier,  Bernau,  and  other  patriots 
settled,  in  my  house  in  Paris,  the  outlines  of  the  con- 

1 8 24]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  32 1 

stitution  you  wished !  And  to  trace  it  through  all 
the  disastrous  chapters  of  Robespierre,  Barras,  Bona 
parte,  and  the  Bourbons  !  These  things,  however, 
are  for  our  meeting.  You  mention  the  return  of 
Miss  Wright  to  America,  accompanied  by  her  sister ; 
but  do  not  say  what  her  stay  is  to  be,  nor  what  her 
course.  Should  it  lead  her  to  a  visit  of  our  Univer 
sity,  which,  in  its  architecture  only,  is  as  yet  an  object, 
herself  and  her  companion  will  nowhere  find  a  wel 
come  more  hearty  than  with  Mrs.  Randolph,  and  all 
the  inhabitants  of  Monticello.  This  Athenaeum  of 
our  country,  in  embryo,  is  as  yet  but  promise  ;  and 
not  in  a  state  to  recall  the  recollections  of  Athens. 
But  everything  has  its  beginning,  its  growth,  and 
end  ;  and  who  knows  with  what  future  delicious  mor 
sels  of  philosophy,  and  by  what  future  Miss  Wright 
raked  from  its  ruins,  the  world  may,  some  day,  be 
gratified  and  instructed  ?  Your  son  George  we  shall 
be  very  happy  indeed  to  see,  and  to  renew  in  him  the 
recollections  of  your  very  dear  family  ;  and  the  revo 
lutionary  merit  of  M.  le  Vasseur  has  that  passport  to 
the  esteem  of  every  American,  and,  to  me,  the  addi 
tional  one  of  having  been  your  friend  and  co-operator, 
and  he  will,  I  hope,  join  you  in  making  head-quarters 
with  us  at  Monticello.  But  all  these  things  a  revoir  ; 
in  the  meantime  we  are  impatient  that  your  cere 
monies  at  York  should  be  over,  and  give  you  to  the 
embraces  of  friendship. 

P.  S.  Will  you  come  by  Mr.  Madison's,  or  let  him 
or  me  know  on  what  day  he  may  meet  you  here,  and 
join  us  in  our  greetings  ? 

VOL.  X.— 21 

322  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 


MONTICELLO,  October  13,  1824. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  must  again  beg  the  protection  of  your  cover  for 
a  letter  to  Mr.  Gilmer  ;  although  a  little  doubtful  whether  he  may 
not  have  left  you. 

You  will  have  seen  by  our  papers  the  delirium  into  which  our 
citizens  are  thrown  by  a  visit  from  General  La  Fayette.  He  is 
making  a  triumphant  progress  through  the  States,  from  town  to 
town,  with  acclamations  of  welcome,  such  as  no  crowned  head 
ever  received.  It  will  have  a  good  effect  in  favor  of  the  General 
with  the  people  in  Europe,  but  probably  a  different  one  with 
their  sovereigns.  Its  effect  here,  too,  will  be  salutary  as  to  our 
selves,  by  rallying  us  together  and  strengthening  the  habit  of 
considering  our  country  as  one  and  indivisible,  and  I  hope  we 
shall  close  it  with  something  more  solid  for  him  than  dinners 
and  balls.  The  eclat  of  this  visit  has  almost  merged  the  Presi 
dential  question,  on  which  nothing  scarcely  is  said  in  our  papers. 
That  question  will  lie  ultimately  between  Crawford  and  Adams  ; 
but,  at  the  same  time,  the  vote  of  the  people  will  be  so  distracted 
by  subordinate  candidates,  that  possibly  they  may  make  no  elec 
tion,  and  let  it  go  to  the  House  of  Representatives.  There,  it  is 
thought,  Crawford's  chance  is  best.  We  have  nothing  else  inter 
esting  before  the  public.  Of  the  two  questions  of  the  tariff  and 
public  improvements,  the  former,  perhaps,  is  not  yet  at  rest, 
and  the  latter  will  excite  boisterous  discussions.  It  happens  that 
both  these  measures  fall  in  with  the  western  interests,  and  it  is 
their  secession  from  the  agricultural  States  which  gives  such 
strength  to  the  manufacturing  and  consolidating  parties,  on  these 
two  questions.  The  latter  is  the  most  dreaded,  because  thought 
to  amount  to  a  determination  in  the  federal  government  to  as 
sume  all  powers  non-enumerated  as  well  as  enumerated  in  the  con 
stitution,  and  by  giving  a  loose  to  construction,  make  the  text 
say  whatever  will  relieve  them  from  the  bridle  of  the  States. 
These  are  difficulties  for  your  day  ;  I  shall  give  them  the  slip. 
Accept  the  assurance  of  my  friendly  attachment  and  great  respect. 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  323 


MONTICELLO,  October  24,  '24. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  should  not  have  delayed  a  single  day  the  answer 
to  your  interesting  and  acceptable  letter  of  the  i3th  inst.  but  that 
it  found  me  suffering  severely  from  an  imposthume  formed  under 
the  jaw,  and  closing  it  so  effectually  as  to  render  the  introduction 
of  sustenance  into  the  mouth  impossible  but  in  a  fluid  form,  and 
that,  latterly,  sucked  thro'  a  tube.  After  2  or  3  weeks  of  suffer 
ance,  and  a  total  prostration  of  strength,  1  have  been  relieved  by 
a  discharge  of  the  matter,  and  am  now  on  the  recovery  ;  and  I 
avail  myself  of  the  first  moment  of  my  ability  to  take  up  a  pen  to 
assure  you  that  nothing  could  be  more  welcome  to  me  than  the 
visit  proposed,  or  it's  object.  During  the  stay  you  were  so  kind 
as  to  make  with  us,  my  opportunities  were  abundant  of  seeing 
and  estimating  the  merit  of  your  character  ;  insomuch  as  to  need 
no  further  enquiry  from  others.  Nor  did  the  family  leave  me 
uninformed  of  the  attachment  which  seemed  to  be  forming  to 
wards  my  grandaur.  Ellen.  I  learnt  it  with  pleasure  ;  because  I 
believed  of  yours,  and  knew  of  her  extraordinary  moral  qualifica 
tions,  I  was  satisfied  no  two  minds  could  be  formed,  better  com 
pounded  to  make  each  other  happy.  I  hold  the  same  sentiment 
now  that  I  receive  the  information  from  yourself,  and  assure  you 
that  no  union  could  give  to  me  greater  satisfaction,  if  your  wishes 
prove  mutual,  and  your  friends  consenting.  What  provision  for  a 
competent  subsistence  for  you,  might  exist  or  be  practicable,  was 
a  consideration  for  both  parties.  1  knew  that  the  circumstances 
of  her  father,  Governor  Randolph,  offered  little  prospect  from  his 
resources,  prostrated  as  they  have  been  by  too  much  facility  in 
engagements  for  others.  Some  suffering  of  the  same  kind  myself, 
and  of  sensible  amount,  with  debts  of  my  own,  remove  to  a  dis 
tance  anything  I  could  do,  and  certainly  should  do,  for  you.  My 
property  is  such  that  after  a  discharge  of  these  incumbrances, 
a  comfortable  provision  will  remain  for  my  unprovided  grand 
children.  This  state  of  things  on  our  part  leaves  us  nothing  to 
propose  for  the  present  but  to  submit  the  course  to  be  pursued 
entirely  to  your  own  discretion,  and  the  will  of  your  friends,  un 
der  the  general  assurance  that  whenever  circumstances  enable  me 

1  From  a  copy  in  the  possession  of  A.  C.  Coolidge,  Esq.,  of  Cambridge. 

324  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

to  do  any  thing,  it  will  be  directed  by  justice  to  the  other  members 
of  my  family,  a  special  affection  to  this  particularly  valued  grand 
daughter,  and  a  cordial  attachment  to  yourself.  Your  visit  to 
Monticello  and  at  the  time  of  your  own  convenience  will  be  truly 
welcome,  and  your  stay  whatever  may  suit  yourself,  under  any 
views  of  friendship  or  connection.  My  gratification  will  be  meas 
ured  by  the  time  of  it's  continuance. 

I  ought  sooner  to  have  thanked  you  for  the  valuable  work  of 
Milisia,  on  Architecture  :  searching,  as  he  does,  for  the  resources 
and  prototypes  of  our  ideas  of  beauty  in  that  fine  art,  he  appears 
to  have  elicited  them  with  more  correctness  than  any  other  I  have 
read  :  and  his  work,  as  a  text  book,  furnishes  excellent  matter  for 
a  course  of  lectures  on  the  subject,  which  I  shall  hope  to  have 
introduced  into  our  institution.  The  letters  of  Mr.  Gilmer  are 
encouraging  as  to  the  time  and  style  of  opening  it. 

I  expect  in  the  course  of  the  ist.  or  2d  week  of  the  approach 
ing  month  to  receive  here  the  visit  of  my  antient  friend  Genl 
La  Fayette.  The  delirium  which  his  visit  has  excited  in  the 
North  invelopes  him  in  the  South  also.  The  humble  village  of 
Charlottesville,  or  rather  the  county  of  Albemarle,  of  which  it 
is  the  seat  of  justice,  will  exhibit  it's  great  affection,  and  unpre 
tending  means,  in  a  dinner  to  be  given  the  General  in  the  build 
ings  of  the  University,  to  which  they  have  given  accepted 
invitations  to  Mr.  Madison  also  and  myself  as  guests,  and  at 
which  your  presence,  as  my  guest  would  give  high  pleasure  to  us 
all,  and  to  none,  I  assure  you,  more  cordially  than  to  your  sincerely 
attached  friend. 


MONTICELLO  Oct  27.  24 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  letter  of  the  2ist  found  me  in  a  commence 
ment  of  convalescence  after  a  severe  illness  of  some  weeks.  I 
have  given  however  to  the  pamphlet  which  accompanied  it  the 
best  attention  which  my  condition  has  permitted.  The  facts  it 
has  collected  are  valuable,  encouraging  to  the  American  mind, 
1  From  a  copy  courteously  furnished  by  Mr.  W.  M.  Meigs  of  Philadelphia. 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  325 

and  so  far  as  they  respect  ourselves  could  give  umbrage  to  none. 
But  if  a  contrast  with  other  nations  were  necessary  or  useful,  it 
would  have  been  more  flattering  had  it  come  from  a  foreign  hand- 
After  the  severe  chastisement  given  by  Mr.  Walsh  in  his  Ameri 
can  Register,  to  English  scribblers,  which  they  well  deserved  and 
I  was  delighted  to  see,  I  hoped  there  would  be  an  end  of  this 
inter-crimination,  and  that  both  parties  would  prefer  the  course 
of  courtesy  and  conciliation,  and  I  think  their  considerate  writers 
have  since  shewn  that  disposition,  and  that  it  would  prevail  if 
equally  cultivated  by  us.  Europe  is  doing  us  full  justice  ;  why 
then  detract  from  her.  It  is  true  that  the  pamphlet,  in  winding 
up,  disavows  this  intention,  but  in  opposition  to  the  fact  of  re 
peated  sets  made  at  England,  and  too  frequent  assumptions  of 
superiority.  It  is  true  we  have  advantages,  and  great  advantages 
over  her  in  some  of  our  institutions,  and  in  some  important  con 
ditions  of  our  existence.  But  in  so  many  as  are  assumed  will  be 
believed  by  ourselves  only,  and  not  by  all  among  ourselves.  It 
cannot  be  denied  that  we  are  a  boasting  nation.  I  repeat  how 
ever  that  the  work  is  highly  consolatory  to  us,  and  that,  with  the 
indulgence  of  this  single  criticism,  it  merits  all  praise  in  its  mat 
ter,  style  and  composition.  Mr.  Short  and  Mr.  Harris  have  truly 
informed  you  that  I  suffer  to  excess  by  an  oppressive  correspond 
ence.  The  decays  of  age  have  so  reduced  the  powers  of  life  with 
me,  that  a  greater  affliction  can  scarcely  be  imposed  on  me  than 
that  of  writing  a  letter.  I  feel  indeed  that  I  must  withdraw  from 
the  labors  of  this  duty,  even  if  it  loses  me  all  my  friends.  My 
affections  for  them  undergo  no  diminution,  but  the  laws  of  the 
animal  economy  take  from  me  this  means  of  manifesting  it.  Be 
pleased  to  accept  the  assurance  of  my  high  respect  and  esteem. 


MONTICELLO  Dec.  6.  24. 

Be  assured,  dear  Sir,  that  the  reasons  which  put  it  out  of  my 
power  to  interfere  in  behalf  of  Mr.  Taylor  were  such  as  yourself 
would  pronounce  insuperable  had  it  been  proper  for  me  to  have 
mentioned  them.  We  shall  be  happy  to  receive  your  son  & 

326  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1824 

Daughter  here  whenever  they  will  favor  us  with  their  visit.  Rich 
mond  was  not  well  chosen,  as  the  place  to  shake  off  a  fever  & 
ague  in  the  months  of  Aug.  Sep.  &  Oct.  till  frost.  All  it's  inhab 
itants  who  can  afford  it  leave  it  for  the  upper  country  during  that 
season.  If  Miss  Julia,  instead  of  accompanying  her  brother  to 
Lynchbg  will  stay  with  us  till  his  return  I  should  have  strong  con 
fidence  in  his  finding  that  she  will  have  missed  her  fit.  There 
never  was  an  instance  of  fever  &  ague  originating  here,  nor  did  I 
ever  know  our  friends  who  have  brot  it  from  below,  pass  the  4th 
fit.  Should  the  inveteracy  of  her  case  bid  defiance  to  our  air  for 
awhile,  she  had  still  better  stay  with  us  till  that  of  Richmd.  be 
comes  safe  by  frost  and  numerous  fires,  these  as  well  as  frost  be 
ing  correctives  of  the  atmosphere.  We  have  two  stages  a  week 
going  to  Richmd.  which  will  give  her  a  passage  to  that  place 
when  ever  she  shall  think  herself  well  enough  to  venture  to  it ; 
and  in  the  meantime  we  shall  be  happy  in  having  her  as  one  of 
our  family  and  in  administering  to  her  every  care  &  comfort  in 
our  power.  No  one  of  your  family  must  ever  suppose  themselves 
not  at  home  when  with  me  ;  and  indeed  I  think  it  would  be  but 
fatherly  to  accompany  your  son  yourself  and  give  him  the  benefit 
of  your  lessons  when  visiting  our  warehouses.  To  me  this  addi 
tion  to  the  visit  would  be  most  welcome  and  add  to  the  pleasure 
with  which  I  assure  you  of  my  constant  frdshp  &  respect. 


MONTICELLO  Dec.  15.  24. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  examined  my  letter  of  Jan.  13.  1803.  as 
well  as  the  indistinct  copy  given  by  the  copying  press  permits. 
In  some  parts  it  is  illegible.  The  publication  of  the  whole  of  the 
ist  paragraph  would  merit  very  serious  considn  as  respects  my 
self.  Written  when  party  passions  and  contests  were  at  their 
greatest  height,  and  expressing  freely  to  you,  with  whom  I  had  no 
reserve,  my  opinion  of  the  views  of  the  other  party,  which  were 
all  but  treasonable,  they  would  kindle  embers  long  seeming  to  be 
extinguished.  And  altho'  at  that  time  the  views  stated  were 
known  to  be  true,  and  not  doubted  at  this  moment,  yet  promul- 

1824]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  327 

gated  now,  they  would  seem  very  harsh,  and  renew  personal  en 
mities  and  hatreds  which  time  seems  to  have  quieted.  Yet  I  am 
perfectly  willing  that  such  parts  as  would  be  useful  to  you,  with 
out  committing  me  to  new  persecutions  should  be  made  publick. 
With  this  view  I  have  revised  the  paragraph,  suppressed  passages 
which  would  be  offensive,  modified  here  and  there  an  expression, 
and  now  inclose  you  the  form  in  which  I  should  consent  to  it's 
publcn.  Your  letter  by  Mr.  Ticknor  &  Mr.  Webster  has  been 
duly  reed.  With  the  former  I  had  had  acquaintance  and  corre 
spondence  of  long  standing  ;  and  I  am  much  gratified  by  the 
acquaintance  made  with  the  latter.1  He  is  likely  to  become  of 
great  weight  in  our  govmt. 

1  In  the  Private  Correspondence  of  Daniel  Webster  (i. ,  364)  is  "  a  memo 
randum  "  by  Webster  descriptive  of  this  visit,  with  a  picture  of  Jefferson's 
daily  life  and  personal  appearance.  Following  this  are  "  anecdotes  from  Mr. 
Jefferson's  conversation,"  which  are  here  appended  : 

"  Patrick  Henry  was  originally  a  bar-keeper.  He  was  married  very  young,  and 
going  into  some  business,  on  his  own  account,  was  a  bankrupt  before  the  year 
was  out.  When  I  was  about  the  age  of  fifteen,  I  left  the  school  here,  to  go  to 
the  college  at  Williamsburgh.  I  stopped  a  few  days  at  a  friend's  in  the  county 
of  Louisa.  There  I  first  saw  and  became  acquainted  with  Patrick  Henry. 
Having  spent  the  Christmas  holidays  there,  I  proceeded  to  Williamsburgh. 
Some  question  arose  about  my  admission,  as  my  preparatory  studies  had  not 
been  pursued  at  the  school  connected  with  that  institution.  This  delayed  my 
admission  about  a  fortnight,  at  which  time  Henry  appeared  in  Williamsburgh, 
and  applied  for  a  license  to  practise  law,  having  commenced  the  study  of  it  at 
or  subsequently  to  the  time  of  my  meeting  him  in  Louisa.  There  were  four 
examiners,  Wythe,  Pendleton,  Peyton  Randolph,  and  John  Randolph  ;  Wythe 
and  Pendleton  at  once  rejected  his  application.  The  two  Randolphs,  by  his 
importunity,  were  prevailed  upon  to  sign  the  license  ;  and  having  obtained  their 
signatures,  he  applied  again  to  Pendleton,  and  after  much  entreaty  and  many 
promises  6f  future  study,  succeeded  in  obtaining  his.  He  then  turned  out  for  a 
practising  lawyer.  The  first  case  which  brought  him  into  notice,  was  a  con 
tested  election,  in  which  he  appeared  as  counsel  before  a  committee  of  the  House 
of  Burgesses.  His  second  was  the  Parsons  cause,  already  well  known.  These 
and  similar  efforts  soon  obtained  for  him  so  much  reputation,  that  he  was 
elected  a  member  of  the  legislature.  He  was  as  well  suited  to  the  times  as  any 
man  ever  was,  and  it  is  not  now  easy  to  say  what  we  should  have  done  without 
Patrick  Henry.  He  was  far  before  all  in  maintaining  the  spirit  of  the  Revolu 
tion.  His  influence  was  most  extensive  with  the  members  from  the  upper 
counties,  and  his  boldness  and  their  votes  overawed  and  controlled  the 
more  cool  or  the  more  timid  aristocratic  gentlemen  of  the  lower  part  of  the 

328  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1825 


MONTICELLO,  January  8,  1825. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  returned  the  first  volume  of  Hall  by  a  mail  of  a 
week  ago,  and  by  this,  shall  return  the  second.  We  have  kept 
them  long,  but  every  member  of  the  family  wished  to  read  kis 
book,  in  which  case,  you  know,  it  had  a  long  gauntlet  to  ran. 
It  is  impossible  to  read  thoroughly  such  writings  as  those  of 
Harper  and  Otis,  who  take  a  page  to  say  what  requires  but  a 

State.  His  eloquence  was  peculiar,  if  indeed  it  should  be  called  eloqueice  ; 
for  it  was  impressive  and  sublime,  beyond  what  can  be  imagined.  Although  it 
was  difficult  when  he  had  spoken  to  tell  what  he  had  said,  yet,  while  he  was 
speaking,  it  always  seemed  directly  to  the  point.  When  he  had  spoken  in  op 
position  to  my  opinion,  had  produced  a  great  effect,  and  I  myself  been  highly 
delighted  and  moved,  I  have  asked  myself  when  he  ceased  :  '  What  the  d — 1 
has  he  said  ? '  I  could  never  answer  the  inquiry.  His  person  was  of  full  size, 
and  his  manner  and  voice  free  and  manly.  His  utterance  neither  very  fast  nor 
very  slow.  His  speeches  generally  short,  from  a  quarter  to  a  half  an  hour. 
His  pronunciation  was  vulgar  and  vicious,  but  it  was  forgotten  while  he  was 

"  He  was  a  man  of  very  little  knowledge  of  any  sort  ;  he  read  nothing,  and  had 
no  books.  Returning  one  November  from  Albemarle  court,  he  borrowed  of  me 
Hume's  Essays,  in  two  volumes,  saying  he  should  have  leisure  in  the  winter  for 
reading.  In  the  spring  he  returned  them,  and  declared  he  had  not  been  able  to 
go  further  than  twenty  or  thirty  pages  in  the  first  volume.  He  wrote  almost 
nothing — he  could  not  write.  The  resolutions  of  '75,  which  have  been  ascribed 
to  him,  have  by  many  been  supposed  to  have  been  written  by  Mr.  Johnson,  who 
acted  as  his  second  on  that  occasion  ;  but  if  they  were  written  by  Henry  him 
self,  they  are  not  such  as  to  prove  any  power  of  composition.  Neither  in 
politics  nor  in  his  profession  was  he  a  man  of  business  ;  he  was  a  man  for  de 
bate  only.  His  biographer  says  that  he  read  Plutarch  every  year.  I  doubt 
whether  he  ever  read  a  volume  of  it  in  his  life.  His  temper  was  excellent,  and 
he  generally  observed  decorum  in  debate.  On  one  or  two  occasions  I  have 
seen  him  angry,  and  his  anger  was  terrible  ;  those  who  witnessed  it,  were  not 
disposed  to  rouse  it  again.  In  his  opinions  he  was  yielding  and  practicable  and 
not  disposed  to  differ  from  his  friends.  In  private  conversation,  he  was 
agreeable  and  facetious,  and,  while  in  genteel  society,  appeared  to  understand 
all  the  decencies  and  proprieties  of  it  ;  but,  in  his  heart,  he  preferred  low 
society,  and  sought  it  as  often  as  possible.  He  would  hunt  in  the  pine  woods 
of  Fluvannah,  with  overseers,  and  people  of  that  description,  living  in  a  camp 
for  a  fortnight  at  a  time  without  a  change  of  raiment.  I  have  often  been  as 
tonished  at  his  command  of  proper  language  ;  how  he  attained  the  knowledge 
of  it,  I  never  could  find  out,  as  he  read  so  little  and  conversed  little  with  educated 

1825]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  329 

sentence,  or  rather,  who  give  you  whole  pages  of  what  is  noth 
ing  to  the  purpose.  A  cursory  race  over  the  ground  is  as  much 
as  they  can  claim.  It  is  easy  for  them,  at  this  day,  to  endeavor 
to  whitewash  their  party,  when  the  greater  part  are  dead  of  those 
who  witnessed  what  passed,  others  old  and  become  indifferent 
to  the  subject,  and  others  indisposed  to  take  the  trouble  of  an 
swering  them.  As  to  Otis,  his  attempt  is  to  prove  that  the  sun 
does  not  shine  at  mid-day ;  that  that  is  not  a  fact  which  every 

men.  After  all,  it  must  be  allowed  that  he  was  our  leader  in  the  measures  of 
the  Revolution,  in  Virginia.  In  that  respect  more  was  due  to  him  than  any 
other  person.  If  we  had  not  had  him  we  should  probably  have  got  on  pretty 
well,  as  you  did,  by  a  number  of  men  of  nearly  equal  talents,  but  he  left  us  all 
far  behind.  His  biographer  sent  the  sheets  of  his  work  to  me  as  they  were 
printed,  and  at  the  end  asked  for  my  opinion.  I  told  him  it  would  be  a  question 
hereafter,  whether  his  work  should  be  placed  on  the  shelf  of  history  or  of  pane 
gyric.  It  is  a  poor  book  written  in  bad  taste,  and  gives  so  imperfect  an  idea  of 
Patrick  Henry,  that  it  seems  intended  to  show  off  the  writer  more  than  the 
subject  of  the  work. 

"  Throughout  the  whole  Revolution,  Virginia  and  the  four  New  England 
States  acted  together  ;  indeed,  they  made  the  Revolution.  Their  five  votes 
were  always  to  be  counted  on  ;  but  they  had  to  pick  up  the  remaining  two  for  a 
majority,  when  and  where  they  could. 

"  About  the  time  of  the  Boston  Port  Bill,  the  patriotic  feeling  in  Virginia  had 
become  languid  and  worn  out,  from  some  cause  or  other.  It  was  thought  by 
some  of  us  to  be  absolutely  necessary  to  excite  the  people  ;  but  we  hardly  knew 
the  right  means.  At  length  it  occurred  to  us  to  make  grave  faces  and  propose 
a  fast.  Some  of  us,  who  were  the  younger  members  of  the  assembly,  resolved 
upon  the  measure.  We  thought  Oliver  Cromwell  would  be  a  good  guide  in 
such  a  case.  So  we  looked  into  Rush  worth,  and  drew  up  our  resolutions  after 
the  most  pious  and  praiseworthy  examples.  It  would  hardly  have  been  in 
character  for  us  to  present  them  ourselves.  We  applied  therefore  to  Mr. 
Nicholas,  a  grave  and  religious  man  ;  he  proposed  them  in  a  set  and  solemn 
speech  ;  some  of  us  gravely  seconded  him,  and  the  resolutions  were  passed 
unanimously.  If  any  debate  had  occurred,  or  if  they  had  been  postponed  for 
consideration,  there  was  no  chance  that  they  would  have  been  passed.  The 
next  morning  Lord  Bottetourt,  the  governor,  summoned  the  assembly  to  his 
presence,  and  said  to  them  :  '  I  have  heard  of  your  proceedings  of  yesterday, 
and  augur  ill  of  their  effects.  His  Majesty's  interest  requires  that  you  be  dis 
solved,  and  you  are  dissolved.'  Another  election  taking  place  soon  afterwards, 
such  was  the  spirit  of  the  times,  that  every  member  of  the  assembly,  without  an 
individual  exception,  was  re-elected. 

"  Our  fast  produced  very  considerable  effect.     We  all  agreed  to  go  home  and 

330  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1825 

one  saw.  He  merits  no  notice.  It  is  well  known  that  Harper 
had  little  scruple  about  facts  where  detection  was  not  obvious. 
By  placing  in  false  lights  whatever  admits  it,  and  passing  over  in 
silence  what  does  not,  a  plausible  aspect  may  be  presented  of  any 
thing.  He  takes  great  pains  to  prove,  for  instance,  that  Hamil 
ton  was  no  monarchist,  by  exaggerating  his  own  intimacy  with 
him,  and  the  impossibility,  if  he  was  so,  that  he  should  not,  at 
some  time,  have  betrayed  it  to  him.  This  may  pass  with  unin- 

see  that  preachers  were  provided  incur  counties,  and  notice  given  to  our  people. 
I  came  home  to  my  own  county,  provided  a  preacher,  and  notified  the  people, 
who  came  together  in  great  multitudes,  wondering  what  it  meant. 

"Lord  Bottetourt  was  an  honorable  man.  His  government  had  authorized 
him  to  make  certain  assurances  to  the  people  here,  which  he  made  accordingly. 
He  wrote  to  the  minister  that  he  had  made  these  assurances,  and  that,  unless 
he  should  be  enabled  to  fulfil  them,  he  must  retire  from  his  situation.  This  letter 
he  sent  unsealed  to  Peyton  Randolph  for  his  inspection.  Lord  Bottetourt's 
great  respectability,  his  character  for  integrity,  and  his  general  popularity, 
would  have  enabled  him  to  embarrass  the  measures  of  the  patriots  exceedingly. 
His  death  was,  therefore,  a  fortunate  event  for  the  cause  of  the  Revolution. 
He  was  the  first  governor  in  chief  that  had  ever  come  over  to  Virginia.  Before 
his  time,  we  had  received  only  deputies,  the  governor  residing  in  England,  with 
a  salary  of  five  thousand  pounds,  and  paying  his  deputy  one  thousand  pounds. 

"  When  Congress  met,  Patrick  Henry  and  Richard  Henry  Lee  opened  the 
subject  with  great  ability  and  eloquence.  So  much  so,  that  Paca  and  Chase, 
delegates  from  Maryland,  said  to  each  other  as  they  returned  from  the  House  : 
'  We  shall  not  be  wanted  here  ;  those  gentlemen  from  Virginia  will  be  able  to 
do  everything  without  us.'  But  neither  Henry  nor  Lee  were  men  of  business, 
and  having  made  strong  and  eloquent  general  speeches,  they  had  done  all  they 

"  It  was  thought  advisable  that  two  papers  should  be  drawn  up,  one,  an  ad 
dress  to  the  people  of  England,  and  the  other,  an  address,  I  think,  to  the  king. 
Committees  were  raised  for  these  purposes,  and  Henry  was  at  the  head  of  the 
first,  and  Lee  of  the  second. 

"  When  the  address  to  the  people  of  England  was  reported,  Congress  heard 
it  with  utter  amazement.  It  was  miserably  written  and  good  for  nothing.  At 
length  Governor  Livingston,  of  New  Jersey,  ventured  to  break  silence.  After 
complimenting  the  author,  he  said  he  thought  some  other  ideas  might  be  use 
fully  added  to  his  draft  of  the  address.  Some  such  paper  had  been  for  a  con 
siderable  time  contemplated,  and  he  believed  a  friend  of  his  had  tried  his  hand 
in  the  composition  of  one.  He  thought  if  the  subject  were  again  committed, 
some  improvement  in  the  present  draft  might  be  made.  It  was  accordingly  re 
committed,  and  the  address  which  had  been  alluded  to  by  Governor  Livingston, 

1825]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  331 

formed  readers,  but  not  with  those  who  have  had  it  from  Hamil 
ton's  own  mouth.  I  am  one  of  those,  and  but  one  of  many.  At 
my  own  table,  in  presence  of  Mr.  Adams,  Knox,  Randolph,  and 
myself,  in  a  dispute  between  Mr.  Adams  and  himself,  he  avowed 
his  preference  of  monarchy  over  every  other  government,  and  his 
opinion  that  the  English  was  the  most  perfect  model  of  govern 
ment  ever  devised  by  the  wit  of  man,  Mr.  Adams  agreeing  "if 
its  corruptions  were  done  away."  While  Hamilton  insisted  that 

and  which  was  written  by  John  Jay,  was  reported  by  the  committee,  and  adopted 
as  it  now  appears. 

"  It  is,  in  my  opinion,  one  of  the  very  best  state  papers  which  the  Revolu 
tion  produced. 

"  Richard  Henry  Lee  moved  the  Declaration  of  Independence,  in  pursuance 
of  the  resolutions  of  the  assembly  of  Virginia,  and  only  because  he  was  the  old 
est  member  of  the  Virginia  delegation. 

"  The  Declaration  of  Independence  was  written  in  a  house  on  the  north  side 
of  Chestnut  street,  Philadelphia,  between  third  and  fourth,  not  a  corner  house. 
Heiskell's  tavern,  which  has  been  pointed  out  as  the  house,  is  not  the  true  one. 

"  For  depth  of  purpose,  zeal,  and  sagacity,  no  man  in  Congress  exceeded,  if 
any  equalled  Sam.  Adams;  and  none  did  more  than  he  to  originate  and  sus 
tain  revolutionary  measures  in  Congress.  But  he  could  not  speak  ;  he  had  a 
hesitating,  grunting  manner. 

"  John  Adams  was  our  Colossus  on  the  floor.  He  was  not  graceful,  nor  ele 
gant,  nor  remarkably  fluent  ;  but  he  came  out,  occasionally,  with  a  power  of 
thought  and  expression  that  moved  us  from  our  seats. 

"  I  feel  much  alarmed  at  the  prospect  of  seeing  General  Jackson  President. 
He  is  one  of  the  most  unfit  men  I  know  of  for  such  a  place.  He  has  had  very 
little  respect  for  laws  or  constitutions,  and  is,  in  fact,  an  able  military  chief. 
His  passions  are  terrible.  When  I  was  President  of  the  Senate  he  was  a  Sen 
ator  ;  and  he  could  never  speak  on  account  of  the  rashness  of  his  feelings.  I 
have  seen  him  attempt  it  repeatedly,  and  as  often  choke  with  rage.  His  pas 
sions  are  no  doubt  cooler  now  ;  he  has  been  much  tried  since  I  knew  him,  but 
he  is  a  dangerous  man. 

"  When  I  was  in  France,  the  Marquis  de  Chasteleux  carried  me  over  to  Buf- 
fon's  residence  in  the  country,  and  introduced  me  to  him. 

"  It  was  Buffon's  practice  to  remain  in  his  study  till  dinner  time,  and  receive 
no  visitors  under  any  pretence  ;  but  his  house  was  open  and  his  grounds,  and  a 
servant  showed  them  very  civilly,  and  invited  all  strangers  and  friends  to  remain 
to  dine.  We  saw  Buff  on  in  the  garden,  but  carefully  avoided  him  ;  but  we 
dined  with  him,  and  he  proved  himself  then,  as  he  always  did,  a  man  of  ex- 

332  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1825 

"  with  these  corruptions  it  was  perfect,  and  without  them  it 
would  be  an  impracticable  government."  Can  any  one  read  Mr. 
Adams'  defence  of  the  American  constitutions  without  seeing 
that  he  was  a  monarchist  ?  And  J.  Q.  Adams,  the  son,  was  more 
explicit  than  the  father,  in  his  answer  to  Paine's  rights  of  man. 
So  much  for  leaders.  Their  followers  were  divided.  Some  went 
the  same  lengths,  others,  and  I  believe  the  greater  part,  only 
wished  a  stronger  Executive.  When  I  arrived  at  New  York  in 

traordinary  powers  in  conversation.  He  did  not  declaim  ;  he  was  singularly 

"  I  was  introduced  to  him  as  Mr.  Jefferson,  who,  in  some  notes  on  Virginia, 
had  combated  some  of  his  opinions.  Instead  of  entering  into  an  argument,  he 
took  down  his  last  work,  presented  it  to  me,  and  said,  '  When  Mr.  Jefferson 
shall  have  read  this,  he  will  be  perfectly  satisfied  that  I  am  right.' 

"  Being  about  to  embark  from  Philadelphia  for  France,  I  observed  an  un 
commonly  large  panther  skin  at  the  door  of  a  hatter's  shop.  I  bought  it  for 
half  a  Jo  (sixteen  dollars)  on  the  spot,  determining  to  carry  it  to  France  to  con 
vince  Monsieur  Buffon  of  his  mistake  in  relation  to  this  animal  ;  which  he  had 
confounded  with  the  cougar.  He  acknowledged  his  mistake,  and  said  he  would 
correct  it  in  his  next  volume. 

"  I  attempted  also  to  convince  him  of  his  error  in  relation  to  the  common 
deer  and  the  moose  of  America  ;  he  having  confounded  our  deer  with  the  red 
deer  of  Europe,  and  our  moose  with  the  reindeer.  I  told  him  that  our  deer 
had  horns  two  feet  long  ;  he  replied  with  warmth,  that  if  I  could  produce  a 
single  specimen,  with  horns  one  foot  long,  he  would  give  up  the  question. 
Upon  this  I  wrote  to  Virginia  for  the  horns  of  one  of  our  deer,  and  obtained  a 
very  good  specimen,  four  feet  long.  I  told  him  also  that  the  reindeer  could 
walk  under  the  belly  of  our  moose  ;  but  he  entirely  scouted  the  idea.  Where 
upon  I  wrote  to  General  Sullivan  of  New  Hampshire.  I  desired  him  to  send 
me  the  bones,  skin,  and  antlers  of  our  moose,  supposing  they  could  easily  be 
procured  by  him.  Six  months  afterwards  my  agent  in  England  advised  me 
that  General  Sullivan  had  drawn  on  him  for  forty  guineas.  I  had  forgotten  my 
request,  and  wondered  why  such  a  draft  had  been  made,  but  I  paid  it  at  once. 
A  little  later  came  a  letter  from  General  Sullivan,  setting  forth  the  manner  in 
which  he  had  complied  with  my  request.  He  had  been  obliged  to  raise  a  com 
pany  of  nearly  twenty  men,  had  made  an  excursion  towards  the  White  Hills, 
camping  out  many  nights,  and  had  at  last,  after  many  difficulties,  caught  my 
moose,  boiled  his  bones  in  the  desert,  stuffed  his  skin,  and  remitted  him  to  me. 
This  accounted  for  my  debt  and  convinced  Mr.  Buffon.  He  promised  in  his 
next  volume  to  set  these  things  right  also,  but  he  died  directly  afterwards. 

"  Madame  Houdetot's  society  was  one  of  the  most  agreeable  in  Paris  when  I 
was  there.  She  inherited  the  materials  of  which  it  was  composed  from  Madame 

1825]  THOMAS  JEFFERSON.  333 

1790,  to  take  a  part  in  the  administration,  being  fresh  from  the 
French  revolution,  while  in  its  first  and  pure  stage,  and  conse 
quently  somewhat  whetted  up  in  my  own  republican  principles, 
I  found  a  state  of  things,  in  the  general  society  of  the  place, 
which  I  could  not  have  supposed  possible.  Being  a  stranger 
there,  I  was  feasted  from  table  to  table,  at  large  set  dinners,  the 
parties  generally  from  twenty  to  thirty.  The  revolution  I  had 
left,  and  that  we  had  just  gone  through  in  the  recent  change  of 
our  own  government,  being  the  common  topics  of  conversation, 
I  was  astonished  to  find  the  general  prevalence  of  monarchical 
sentiments,  insomuch  that  in  maintaining  those  of  republicanism, 
I  had  always  the  whole  company  on  my  hands,  never  scarcely 
finding  among  them  a  single  co-advocate  in  that  argument,  un 
less  some  old  member  of  Congress  happened  to  be  present.  The 

de  Terrier  and  Madame  Geoffrin.  St.  Lambert  was  always  there,  and  it  was 
generally  believed  that  every  evening  on  his  return  home,  he  wrote  down  the 
substance  of  the  conversations  he  had  held  there  with  D' Alembert,  Diderot,  and 
the  other  distinguished  persons  who  frequented  her  house.  From  these  con 
versations  he  made  his  books. 

"  I  knew  the  Baron  de  Grignon  very  well ;  he  was  quite  ugly,  and  one  of  his 
legs  was  shorter  than  the  other ;  but  he  was  the  most  agreeable  person  in 
French  society,  and  his  opinion  was  always  considered  decisive  in  matters  relat 
ing  to  the  theatre  and  painting.  His  persiflage  was  the  keenest  and  most 
provoking  I  ever  knew. 

"  Madame  Necker  was  a  very  sincere  and  excellent  woman,  but  she  was  not 
very  pleasant  in  conversation,  for  she  was  subject  to  what  in  Virginia  we  call 
the  '  Budge,'  that  is,  she  was  very  nervous  and  fidgety.  She  could  rarely  remain 
long  in  the  same  place,  or  converse  long  on  the  same  subject.  I  have  known 
her  get  up  from  table  five  or  six  times  in  the  course  of  the  dinner,  and  walk  up 
and  down  her  saloon  to  compose  herself. 

"  Marmontel  was  a  very  amusing  man.  He  dined  with  me  every  Thursday 
for  a  long  time,  and  I  think  told  some  of  the  most  agreeable  stories  I  ever 
heard  in  my  life.  After  his  death,  I  found  almost  all  of  them  in  his  memoirs, 
and  I  dare  say  he  told  them  so  well  because  he  had  written  them  before  in  his 

"  I  wish  Mr.  Pickering  would  make  a  radical  lexicon.  It  would  do  more 
than  anything  else  in  the  present  state  of  the  matter,  to  promote  the  study  of 
Greek  among  us.  Jones's  Greek  lexicon  is  very  poor.  I  have  been  much  dis 
appointed  in  it.  The  best  I  have  ever  used  is  the  Greek  and  French  one  by 

334  THE  WRITINGS  OF  [1825 

furthest  that  any  one  would  go,  in  support  of  the  republican  fea 
tures  of  our  new  government,  would  be  to  say,  "  the  present  consti 
tution  is  well  as  a  beginning,  and  may  be  allowed  a  fair  trial ;  but 
it  is,  in  fact,  only  a  stepping  stone  to  something  better."  Among 
their  writers,  Denny,  the  editor  of  the  Portfolio,  who  was  a  kind 
of  oracle  with  them,  and  styled  the  Addison  of  America,  openly 
avowed  his  preference  of  monarchy  over  all  other  forms  of  gov 
ernment,  prided  himself  on  the  avowal,  and  maintained  it  by 
argument  freely  and  without  reserve,  in  his  publications.  I  do 
not,  myself,  know  that  the  Essex  junto  of  Boston  were  monarch 
ists,  but  I  have  always  heard  it  so  said,  and  never  doubted. 

These,  my  dear  Sir,  are  but  detached  items  from  a  great  mass 
of  proofs  then  fully  before  the  public.  They  are  unknown  to 
you,  because  you  were  absent  in  Europe,  and  they  are  now  dis 
avowed  by  the  party.  But,  had  it  not  been  for  the  firm  and  de 
termined  stand  then  made  by  a  counter-party,  no  man  can  say 
what  our  government  would  have  been  at  this  day.  Monarchy, 
to  be  sure,  is  now  defeated,  and  they  wish  it  should  be  forgotten 
that  it  was  ever  advocated.  They  see  that  it  is  desperate,  and 
treat  its  imputation  to  them  as  a  calumny  ;  and  I  verily  believe 
that  none  of  them  have  it  now  in  direct  aim.  Yet  the  spirit  is 
not  done  away.  The  same  party  takes  now  what  they  deem 
the  next  best  ground,  the  consolidation  of  the  government ;  the 
giving  to  the  federal  member  of  the  government,  by  unlimited 
constructions  of  the  constitution,  a  control  over  all  the  functions 
of  the  States,  and  the  concentration  of  all  power  ultimately  at 

The  true  history  of  that  conflict  of  parties  will  never  be  in 
possession  of  the  public,  until,  by  the  death  of  the  actors  in  it, 
the  hoards  of  their  letters  shall  be  broken  up  and  given  to  the 
world.  I  should  not  fear  to  appeal  to  those  of  Harper  himself, 
if  he  has  kept  copies  of  them,  for  abundant  proof  that  he  was 
himself  a  monarchist.  I  shall  not  live  to  see  these  unrevealed 
proofs,  nor  probably  you  ;  for  time  will  be  requisite.  But  time 
will,  in  the  end,  produce  the  truth.  And,  after  all,  it  is  but  a 
truth  which  exists  in  every  country,  where  not  suppressed  by  the 
rod  of  despotism.  Men,  according  to  their  constitutions,  and  the 
circumstances  in  which  they  are  placed,  di